Richard Buckley explained that the noise nuisance team worked 7 days a week and that the times the service was open varied depending on which day of the week it was with a longer service from Thursday to the early hours of Monday morning.
The number of complaints about noise received during the day had risen by 14% largely due to increased construction. Officers had started to do more proactive work to try to limit the number of complaints about construction noise, with more S.60 notices being issued and more enforceable technical specifications being included in these notices.
28% more complaints about noise at night had also been received, and these were generally about music. There were no real preventative options open to officers and so there had been a larger percentage increase in enforcement notices issued than for construction noise.
Councillor Cassidy asked whether the Council used a noise reporting application. Richard Buckley explained that noise had to be witnessed for officers to be able to take action, and so these applications were of little value to officers. Ann Ramage said that the council’s telephone hotline was well known and well used.
Councillor Hamilton said that he was pleased that the sharing of the service had allowed longer service hours and for more officers to be available to respond. He asked whether there was demand for the service between 5am and the service restarting at either 7.30am or 9am. Richard Buckley explained that there tended to be few issues in the morning.
The Chair asked whether there were some parts of the borough which suffered more noise complaints. Richard Buckley said that there were more complaints in town centres, but that complaints were received regularly from all over the borough.
Richard Buckley moved on to explain that the council had introduced a Public Spaces Protection Order at Shepherd’s Bush Station to deal with nuisance noise created by buskers. He explained that Councillor Harcourt, Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport and Residents’ Services, had asked for the committee’s views on three options to control busking in the borough. The options were:
- A Hammersmith and Fulham Busking Policy
- A Licensing Scheme for Buskers
- Joining BuskinLondon, a scheme promoted by the previous Mayor of London
Councillor Dewhirst said that he was concerned that licensing would be costly for both the council and buskers. He also felt that businesses, especially those in the borough’s town centres, ought to be consulted on the options. Richard Buckley agreed that licensing might well be expensive, and added that the current fees for BuskinLondon were quite high, although it was proving effective in Kensington and Chelsea.
Committee members agreed that a Hammersmith and Fulham policy would be the most cost effective option and that it would allow officers to encourage people to busk well. Councillor Fennimore, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, noted that there had been issues with amplified noise and asked that the use of amplifiers be restricted by the policy. The Chair suggested that some areas could be marked out as suitable for buskers and identified in the policy, although he didn’t think that buskers needed to be restricted to these areas.