Homeowner Triumphs in Helicopter Noise Nuisance Case
Every homeowner is entitled to a little peace and quiet and one High Court case has underlined that you don’t have to grin and bear noise nuisance. A judge issued an injunction against the operators of an aerodrome after a woman complained that the whirr of helicopter blades was making her life a misery.
The woman did not object to the ‘low hum’ of aviation coming from the 100-year-old aerodrome. However, she did complain when part of the airfield, which was less than 60 metres from her boundary, began to be used regularly for training pilots in landing and taking off manoeuvres. She argued that her peace had been disturbed to the point where she and her husband had to move out for an extended period and that the value of her home had been seriously diminished by the racket.
After making a site visit, the judge said that he was shocked by the level of noise in the woman’s garden. He described the sound of helicopter blades as excruciating and observed that it was impossible to hold a conversation or to enjoy any kind of outside activity when helicopter training was in progress. There was compelling evidence that the noise amounted to a nuisance that had to be stopped.
The judge issued an injunction against the operators, restricting them to two 15-minute weekly training sessions close to the boundary. He observed that he would otherwise have awarded the woman £583,000 in compensation, but that an end to the nuisance was more important to her than money. The woman had shown reasonable restraint in pursuing her case, but the operators’ approach had regrettably not been the same.