Chinese takeaway fined for noisy extractor fan

A CHINESE takeaway has been served with a large legal bill after a noisy extractor fan made a neighbour's life a misery.
The operator of the May Flower takeaway has been fined after failing to fix the restaurant's noisy extractor fan.
19 January 2024
|
Environmental Health

Environmental health officers from Rugby Borough Council first visited one of the flats above the May Flower takeaway in Blackwood Avenue in May 2022 following a noise complaint from the occupier.

The source of the noise was the takeaway's large extractor fan, which was fitted to an outside wall of the building.

On inspection, officers found the fan's ductwork had been mounted on the wall. While the fans lowest mounts had been fitted with anti-vibration measures, the middle mounts were loose and coming away from the wall.

The top mounts had been fixed directly to the wall with no anti-vibration measures and, during the inspection, the officers felt the fan vibrating and emitting a droning noise.

Inside the neighbour's flat, officers took noise readings which indicated the fan was causing sufficient noise to disrupt sleeping, relaxing and working from home.

A device which measures noise and vibration was installed in the flat, and the operator of the May Flower, Mrs Hua Lin, was told about the noise problem and served with a warning letter.

Mrs Lin arranged for work to be carried out on the extractor fan, but the noise and vibrations increased. 

After analysing the recordings from the device, officers served an abatement notice on Lin in August 2022, requiring her to take further steps to stop the noise nuisance.

But despite further work being carried out on the fan, the noise problems persisted and Lin admitted to officers she had failed to employ a competent engineer to carry out the work. 

She also failed to supply officers with details of who she employed to do the work and what work was carried out.

After receiving further complaints from the neighbour in February and March 2023, officers again spoke with Lin and reminded her of the need to comply with the abatement notice or risk prosecution.

At Coventry Magistrates Court on Monday (15 January), Lin was found guilty in her absence of failing to comply with the abatement notice - an offence under section 80 of the Environmental Act 1990.

Magistrates heard the simplest solution to the noise created by the extractor fan - fitting anti-vibration measures to the top mounts - should be straightforward and relatively cheap.

The court was also told the neighbour worked from home and had lived with the noise for nearly ten hours a day, six days a week.

Lin was fined £880 for failing to comply with the abatement notice and was ordered to pay a £352 victim surcharge.

Lin was also ordered to pay the council's full costs - £6,327.

Speaking after the hearing, Cllr Derek Poole, leader of Rugby Borough Council and portfolio holder for regulation and safety, said: "Persistent noise nuisance can negatively impact the lives of neighbours and our environmental health team always endeavours to work with residents and businesses to find an amicable solution.

"However, in extreme cases where our efforts to find a solution fail and individuals choose to ignore abatement notices, we have no choice but to prosecute in the courts."

Residents can make complaints about noise nuisance online at www.rugby.gov.uk/noise