Proposed Declaration of Two Public Space Protection Orders in Birmingham City Centre to Control Excessive Noise

Closes 22 Feb 2022

Introduction

Birmingham City Council Environmental Health is consulting on the provision of two Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) for small areas of Birmingham City Centre.  The two areas specified in these proposed PSPOs are adjacent to living accommodation mainly flats or apartments.  These residents are suffering from a statutory noise nuisance caused either by amplified speakers or musical instruments used in the street throughout the day and late into the night. 

This has led to the Environmental Health team serving Noise Abatement Notices under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 where circumstances have allowed this action to be taken.  Failure to comply with these notices has led to the seizure of amplification equipment.   These abatement notices only apply to those in receipt of the notice and do nothing to stop or inform other people undertaking the same antisocial behaviour and from causing a noise nuisance outside of residential premises.  This work has been on-going since September 2021.

The Environmental Health actions has alleviated the noise nuisance from that one person, however, it cannot tackle multiple different people on different occasions from causing a noise nuisance in an area.    

The purpose of the proposed PSPOs is to:

  1. Prevent the use of amplification equipment, musical instruments and items used as musical instruments outside of residential property in the city centre
  2. Prevent the residents in the 2 areas from suffering a statutory noise nuisance and to assist in the discharge of the Local Authorities duty to prevent statutory nuisances (sec 79 & Sec 80 Environmental Protection Act 1990) in circumstances where Noise abatement notices cannot be served.
  3. To overtly sign post the two areas in the city centre where the use of amplification equipment, musical instruments and items used as musical instrument so must not be used so as to protect the residential community.
  4. To inform those on the street who wish to use amplification equipment, musical instruments and items used as musical instruments that they cannot be used in these areas and to displace, not stop, their activities from outside the residential properties.

Efforts to educate and  enforce using existing enforcement powers have been tried throughout the summer and autumn of 2021 with little substantive improvement.  A short video of the issue we are trying to tackle can be seen in the video below:

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Following our attempts to come to an agreed solution we are also coming across a persistent group of people who are refusing to acknowledge the need to move from these two areas despite multiple requests.

In responding to this consultation please consider the Council is under a duty to stop statutory noise nuisances and whether or not this would be acceptable outside of your home.  We would welcome any suggestions on alternatives solutions or different conditions for the proposed PSPO’s.

 

THE TWO PROPOSED PUBLIC SPACES PROTECTION ORDERS PROHIBIT the following things being done within the Restricted Areas:

Amplification equipment, musical instruments or other items used as musical instruments  

  1. (Green Area) A person is prohibited, at all times, from using amplification equipment, musical instruments or other items used as musical instruments within the areas marked in green on the map of the restricted area. 
  2.  (Orange Area) A person is prohibited between the hours of 20.00 hrs and 08.00 hrs from using amplification equipment, musical instruments or other items used as musical instruments within the areas marked in orange on the map of the restricted area. 

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The proposed wording of the PSPOs can be found below

Temple Street/New Street PSPO

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High Street/New Street PSPO

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Key Definitions

“Authorised Person” means a Police Constable, Police Community Support Officer or Council Officer, and must be able to present their authority upon request.

“Restricted Area” shown outlined on the maps below.

Amplification Equipment” microphones, speakers, loudspeakers, megaphones, loud hailers public address systems or any other similar equipment used for the amplification of voice, music or pre-recorded audio-tracks, but not apparatus designed and used as an aid to defective hearing, as an aid for speech or speech replacement, or apparatus used where the sound is received through headphones, or apparatus whilst being used to undertake personal private communication