Loud rooster risks duo £5,000 fine
A noisy rooster could land its owners with a fine of up to £5,000 after neighbours complained about the early wake-up call.
Rodney the rooster, owned by Matt and Carrie Summers, starts crowing as early as 3.43am and goes on up to 76 times over a three-hour period.
Fed-up with the early morning racket, their neighbours set up recording equipment to monitor the noise and now council officials have served Mr and Mrs Summers with a noise abatement notice. The couple, who live at Primrose Hill, in Bath, have said they may now have to look for a new home for their beloved rooster.
Mr Summers, 39, told the Bath Chronicle: "It's an over-reaction. There are donkeys, cows and sheep on the nearby farm, and animals all around us, but no one has said anything about that."
In an attempt to lower the noise level, the couple have blackened the windows of the shed where Rodney sleeps and have been locking him in earlier at night, but complaints are still being made.
Mr Summers said he was frustrated that the definition of noise nuisance appeared to be subjective. "It's not done in decibels; it's just on opinion, which I think is ridiculous," he told the paper.
Bath and North East Somerset Council received complaints from three of Mr Summers' neighbours, following which the council placed its own recording equipment in one resident's bedroom.
In a statement, the council said: "These complaints relate to the bird crowing seven days a week as early as 3.43am for up to 76 times over a three-hour period. Our preferred option of dealing with such cases is informally through discussion with the owners.
"We have explained to the owner in person the problems related to the quality of life of their neighbours and given advice on how to mitigate the issue. We have dealt with similar complaints in the past where our advice, such as putting the bird into a dark shed overnight, has resolved the problem.
"Unfortunately, although the owner's solution has resulted in a slight improvement, neighbours are still complaining about noise disturbing their sleep. A noise abatement notice has been served. Should the notice be breached, the owner of the cockerel would be breaking the law. If proven, a magistrate would decide any level of fine up to £5,000, just like in any other noise pollution case."