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The 2014 decision in the Supreme Court case of Fen Tigers (Coventry v Lawrence  UKSC 13, All ER (D) 245 (Feb)) set the course for damages to be more readily awarded in lieu of an injunction. However, on 17 March 2016, judgment was handed down in Peires which shows achieving an injunction may not be impossible against a noisy neighbour.
In Peires, the claimant’s home was located next to an aerodrome. Noise from a particular helicopter manoeuvres (landing on a slope) interfered with the enjoyment of the claimant’s land. The case attracted attention in the national press in part because the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ presenter, Tess Daly was apparently put off buying the claimants’ house because of the noise.
The claimant brought a claim in nuisance and Peter Smith J was prepared to order an injunction limiting the times and specifying the location at which the defendant could carry out the particular manoeuvres complained of. In this case it was important that:
Peter Smith J said if he were called to do so he would assess the damages that he thought were payable, but that he did not consider the issue arose here. Other comments he makes are noteworthy, ‘in nuisance cases like this, there must be give and take’ and ‘the Claimant’s approach has been one of reasonable restraint the Defendant’s approach regrettably has not been the same’.
The Peires case is very recent and it may be appealed. It is nonetheless interesting to see a noise nuisance case so soon after Fen Tigers (itself a noise nuisance case) and the approach a judge may take to awarding an injunction. The moral of the story is to make sure you act reasonably when faced with a claim for injunctive relief, which is an equitable discretionary remedy.
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