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Noise Nuisance AppWe have just launched our first mobile phone application! The App, a collaborative effort by Encentre and Three Spires Acoustics, provides a useful logging tool for noise complainants and comes with a number of additional resources.

Most nuisance cases will result from ongoing or intermittent noise disturbances so it is important that evidence is logged over time to demonstrate that a state of affairs exists. The Noise Nuisance App enables the sufferer to get a head start by logging the information needed to help progress the case and is a really efficient alternative to diary sheets.

Within seconds the sufferer is able to make an audio recording of the noise and enter detail about the nature of the disturbance and how it affects them. At any point the user can then email their diary entries and share the audio files directly with their local environmental health department (selecting from a complete UK & NI list). Alternatively, the sufferer can use the evidence they have gathered by taking their own action or refer to social landlords who might have a responsibility to act to prevent nuisances.

Successful cases often rely upon the quality of evidence provided and commitment from the complainants. Not everyone will have access to Smartphone technology but those who do can take advantage of the Noise Nuisance App.

The App also provides 30 minutes of video advice for complainants and a news feed featuring topical articles.

The Android version will be launched soon but, in the meantime, iPhone users can find the App here or by searching for "Noise Nuisance" on iTunes. More information, including Q&As, can be found on the Noise Nuisance Association's website.

Puff Puff Nudge Nudge

Over time regulators have prohibited smoking inside public spaces, increased the minimum age for tobacco sales, placed bans on tobacco advertising, imposed mandatory health warnings on packaging and, last year, even prohibited the sale of tobacco products from vending machines. Such measures have been imposed through a gradual introduction of health protection regulation.

The latest step in this development was the removal of tobacco displays from large shops (with a ban on tobacco displays for smaller shops to be implemented in 2015). The removal of cigarette branding, says Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, will deter young smokers from starting smoking through the removal of 'glitzy packaging'. The UK was not the first to introduce the latest measure; some other European countries had already been implementing the prohibition. On the whole, experiences in other countries indicate that the graduated regulatory approach being followed in the UK may be effective. In Canada, for example, there has been a gradual decline in teenage smoking over the last decade.

So what can we expect next on the smokeless horizon? Well, the government are currently considering whether they will require plain packaging on tobacco products. Again, if the ban on plain packaging were to go ahead, Britain would not be the first to impose it. Despite the threat of legal action and international arbitration, Australia's Upper House approved a ban on the use of trademarks and brand logo on tobacco packaging. In addition, groups like the BMA have called for a ban on smoking in all vehicles. Similar legislation exists in other countries aimed at protecting children from the effects of second-hand smoke in cars.

Unless there was a total ban, it is unlikely that improvements in smoking reduction can ever be attributed to regulatory changes alone. Changes in the law are playing one part in a wider social marketing campaign; one in which society increasingly seeing smoking as distasteful and unsociable. Its clear that action will need to be taken to address issues such the black market in tobacco and apparent inequalities in UK health. However, success in other countries like Canada and Finland will be enough to convince politicians that, where it comes to tobacco control, nudge-nudge regulation works.

Business Earns Recognition Rather than policing the government have made clear that the primary focus of the regulator will be to assist businesses in complying with legislation. As such local authorities are expected to reduce the number of proactive inspections taking place and divert resources towards high risk premises and towards initiatives aimed at achieving outcomes.

As a result inspectors may be able to spend more time educating and engaging high risk or non-compliant businesses to change.

The government have also indicated that their intention to encourage co-regulation. Co-regulation will usually involve industry complying with a set of rules that have been agreed between the regulator and industry. The business might then be left to audit and manage risks themselves without proactive intervention or inspections. The model is best suited to larger companies with multiple premises – those who are aware of what they need to do to achieve compliance and are committed to making it happen.

The primary authority scheme operated by the Better Regulation Delivery Office (formerly LBRO) is at the forefront of government plans to transform enforcement and will go part of the way towards delivering co-regulation.

Primary authority schemes are put in place where a local authority forms a partnership with a business who operates in a number of local authority areas. The idea is that businesses benefit from a single point of contact rather than having to deal with multiple authorities. As such, enforcing authorities must liaise with the primary authority before taking enforcement action who may block the action if it is not consistent with planned arrangements.

The scheme is to be advanced further by the incorporation of an element of earned recognition. Through earned recognition regulators will be expected to take more account of the time and effort spent by businesses on compliance through a reduction in intervention and agreed inspection plans.

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Encentre Ltd

Sunbury on Thames

Registered in England
Company No. 7503516

Encentre Ltd

38 Belgrave Road

Sunbury on Thames

TW16 5NQ

Registered in E&W No. 7503516

 

Email: info@encentre.co.uk

Phone: 01932 761528

Twitter: @encentre

 

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