Noise problems

Noise and illegal motor cycling

Complaints about noise and damage caused by off road motor cycle activities are soaring.

We are working with North Yorkshire Neighbourhood Policing Teams within the district to control the problems associated with motor cycle misuse.

This information will explain what are legal - and illegal - activities; what action can be taken to deal with misuse and disturbance' and how to lodge a complaint.

Motor cycling embraces many types of vehicles - inclusing motor cycles, scramblers, scooters, mini motors, trikes and quads.

Disturbance can be caused in many ways - it may disturb the peace of the countryside, may lead to criminal damage and even dangerous driving and these problems can be more prevalent during the warmer weather and lighter nights.

Legitimate use

The only legitmate use of a motor cycle is on a highway or on private property with no public access, and with permission of the land owner.

Only road worthy vehicles and used on a road or in a public place and the rider must have the correct documentation - driving license, insurance, vehicle licences, MOT and must wear protective head gear. These are needed even if the vehicle is only being pushed on roads, pavements or paths.

The riding of bikes along foot path trails, green lanes and bridle paths is illegal unless the rider can prove they have had permission from the land owner.

If damage is caused to private land and the offence of criminal damage is committed the rider may be sued in the County Court for the value of the damage. For exmaple, a school playing field may be damaged by riders - they can be arrested and may have to pay back the damage.

Riding on private land is restricted under the Town and Country Planning Act to just 14 times per year without the need to obtain planning permission. However if the noise nuisance is caused the noise abatement controls can be applied to both the noise maker and the owner of the land.

Nuisance and disturbance

Where noise nuisance and disturbance is caused to residents or land owners enforcement action can be taken.

The Police Reform Act 2002 Section 59 deals with off road riding or biking. If the activity is deemed to cause alarm, distress or annoyance the police have the power to seize motor vehicles. Perpetrators will initially be warned. If they are caught committing a similar offence with 12 months the vehicle can be seized. To reclaim the vehicle they will have to pay fees of £150 plus storage costs - to cover the recovery. If it is not claimed after 3 months it is disposed of.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 places a duty on the local authority to investigate complaints of noise nuisance and serve a noise abatement notice against people who cause a "statutory nuiscance". Should the noise continue the vehicle can be seized and the offender prosecuted. This Act also allows a member of the public who feels that are aggrieved by the existance of a statutory nuisance to make a complaint directly to the magistrates court. Under both Acts anti-social behaviour orders, interventions or acceptable behaviour contracts will be considered for persistent offenders.

Parental responsibility

Parents have a responsibilty to ensure that their children use any such vehicles legally and responsibly.

When riders are under 16, parents are responsible for paying fines and may be liable to prosecution.

Parents are urged to ensure that children with these vehicles use them responsibly and legally. Unless the child has legal access to land on which to use the vehicle responsibly, it is strongly recommended that they do not have access to motor bikes.

Council and Housing Association tenants may put tenancies at risk through breach of tenancy conditions.

How to make a complaint?

Complaints can be made to either the council of the police. You will be asked to provide as much information as possible regarding the event inclusing:

  • vehicle markings/registration details of bikes or accompanying vehicles such as trailers
  • names, addresses, description of offenders
  • dates and exact times of the disturbance and frequency of events
  • exact location of land where the disturbance is occurring including details of land ownership, if know.

All this information will be treated in confidence but will be used in the investigation.

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Further information

Contact our Environmental Health team on 01609 767138 or download this information as a leaflet: