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Trojan keeping the peace in Wakefield

Trojan – keeping the peace in Wakefield

When it comes to keeping the peace, noise nuisance is an issue where a simple dispute can often escalate quickly and without warning.

If left unresolved, prolonged noise nuisance can blight the lives of those living with it, affecting their health and mental wellbeing, so much so that people consider moving house as a result.

Fortunately Local Authorities and Housing Associations have long taken the issue seriously with dedicated teams employing the latest techniques and technology, to ensure a comprehensive investigation and a fair outcome. At Wakefield Metropolitan District Council Jill Edmondson is Team Leader in the Communities Environmental Health Department and has special responsibility for noise nuisance. Her team of Officers cover an area that encompasses a city centre, several towns, urban housing, industrial zones and rural settings – each bringing with it their own unique issues when it comes to noise nuisance.

There are also plenty of misunderstandings when it comes to the public perception of what constitutes noise nuisance, rather than just an annoyance. What one person finds unbearable may have little or no effect on someone else.

Investigating officers have to tread a fine line on every complaint, weighing up the situation impartially/independently and decisively, taking action as and when they feel it is required. However, with only 7 officers to cover Wakefield’s 330sq km district, technology has a huge part to play when it comes to documenting or dis-proving a noise nuisance complaint. Jill’s team currently use five Cirrus Research Trojan Noise Nuisance Recorders as part of their evidence-gathering.

“The recordings are invaluable when an officer has to approach the subject of the complaint and if necessary show them the evidence of noise nuisance,” says Jill. “And whilst it is our duty to investigate whether noise nuisance is taking place, the results are not always what we or the complainant expect.”

At a recent training seminar hosted by Cirrus Research, delegates were keen to share some of the more unusual cases they had dealt with, where not all was as it seemed. For example, some Officers discovered that the complainant had been deliberately antagonising/goading his neighbour’s dog to capture the barking on a Trojan to justify his noise complaint.

Another officer dealt with a man who had recorded and was playing background tapes of barking to try and persuade a Council to take action. His colleague had another case where a man had been deliberately setting off car alarms to make his case seem stronger. Since January 2013 Jill’s team has booked out the Trojans on 234 separate occasions, usually for 5 days at a time. The same year Wakefield Council dealt with 1400 complaints of loud music, 150 of car or house alarms going off, 110 of noise from pubs or clubs and 120 of dogs barking.

“The Trojan is particularly invaluable when the noise nuisance is sporadic. It gives us a very clear picture of what is going on.”

The Trojan is designed to be mains powered with secure cables, but it will switch to its own internal batteries if the mains power is lost. Another important feature is that, when power is restored, the Trojan will automatically restart even if its internal batteries are spent. This allows continuity and gives officers peace of mind that they are recording everything over a set period of time.

“The vast majority of cases can be dealt with through advice and the complainant speaking to their neighbour,” said Jill. “For those who have already tried this approach with no change in behaviour, we will then look to visit both parties and, where appropriate, a device is generally left for up to a week. If proof is recorded then a notice would be served. In extreme cases the officer can seize electrical and sound equipment or the defendants can find themselves in court with further fines, costs and even ASBOs served on them”.

The Trojan has recently being upgraded by Cirrus Research with new features to help make the lives easier for Jill’s team and others like them across the country.

The new Trojan² offers a high quality, high resolution audio recording using a 16bit/16kHz uncompressed WAV file. This gives plenty of frequency range (up to 8kHz) and a wide dynamic range (up to 96dB) so audio recordings can handle both high and low levels with no loss of quality.

Another key feature is the Wireless remote control and 4GB memory – usually more than enough for most noise nuisance applications but it can be expanded with a 32GB option. The AuditStore function in the Trojan² also guarantees the chain of data from the instrument to the software, a useful feature if you need to present measurements and recordings as evidence.

Other noise monitoring extras that have been included as standard include Pre & Post Trigger options for audio recording that can be set as needed. The pre-trigger can be up to 30 seconds and post-trigger up to 60 seconds, particularly useful for catching out falsified recordings.

“Useful for catching out falsified recordings.”

All the software provided is licence-free with NoiseTools supplied as standard, free of charge and without any installation or licensing restrictions. This means customers can install it on as many desktops, laptops or servers as necessary at no extra cost. Updates are also free of charge.

“The Trojan is particularly invaluable when the noise nuisance is sporadic,” concludes Jill. “It gives us a very clear picture of what is going on. The equipment users like the remote control and being able to switch on the recorder from most rooms in the house whenever the noise starts. We find our Trojan recorders are in constant use all year round.”

We Recommend

Cirrus Products Used in This Case Study

Noise Nuisance Recorder
Trojan2 Nuisance Recorder

The Trojan2 Noise Nuisance Recorder is a simple and effective solution for measuring and monitoring noise nuisance complaints.

Designed in conjunction with local authorities
Choice of standard, high and studio audio quality
Removable Class 1 sound level meter IEC 61672:2013
Resident controls with two button wireless remote
NoiseAid Noise Nuisance Event Logging App

NoiseAid is a web-based application that gives you and your users a quick, simple way to gather information about the noise sources that they are concerned about. Users can instantly log noise disturbances via any smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer using the simple interface, adding notes when the noise has ended.

Designed for use by local authorities, housing associations and residents
No limits on the number of users that can be created
Can be used on any device with a modern web browser
Create reports to allow for easy follow up of noise nuisance complaints
NoiseTools Analysis Software

NoiseTools is our licence-free noise measurement database, supplied as standard with our sound level meters, noise dosimeters, and noise measurement kits, to help you manage and control noise levels in your workplace or in the environment.

Licence-free with no installation restrictions, and free updates for life
Easily select hearing protectors from recommendations based on your results
Access a range of built-in reports or create detailed reports from your data
Automatic detection of data quality and reliability via AuditStore
Jaymee-lee Tolliday
Jaymee-lee Tolliday
Marketing Coordinator

Jaymee-Lee is the Marketing Coordinator at Cirrus Research plc, from managing our English social media platforms and email campaigns to crafting compelling content, she is behind all marketing initiatives across our global markets.

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