Take your neighbours into consideration when putting up your lights

How your festive lights could get you in trouble

Some people may argue that decorating your home for Christmas should be a crime, but research has revealed that you could actually end up getting fined for giving your home a festive makeover.

Angry neighbours have taken their gripes online, with forum posts and social media users complaining that they are struggling to sleep with lights blinking all night. This comes as research from Emoov has shown that you could get a £20,000 fine for your outdoor display.

Under Part III of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, local authorities must investigate complaints about various nuisances - including those relating to the safety of lights, interference with other households and noises. Neighbourhood disputes over displays could be classed as a ‘statutory nuisance’, and anyone who fails to comply with the ending of the nuisance can be found guilty of an offence and fined.

Quote (Naveen Jaspal, COO Emoov):  “With the year we’ve all had, it’s quite understandable that homeowners are looking to spread some extra festive cheer. Christmas light spotting around the neighbourhood has become increasingly popular recently, in the absence of the markets and fayres we are all used to.  But we’ve also seen people taking to social media and forums to express their annoyance at their neighbour’s displays - with interrupted sleep and disturbed evenings the main bugbears. 

Luckily there are plenty of ways to keep the festive fun going while ensuring everyone has a silent, and fine free, night.  Safety is the main concern when considering electronic lights outdoors. Check your lights are intended for outdoor use and you don’t have any cables trapped between your windows or doors.  To ensure your neighbours aren’t kept up all night, consider using a timer for your lights which switches them off at a reasonable hour.

This is especially important when your neighbours have young families who need to get their sleep before Santa arrives. Timers can also help you reduce your energy consumption at an already expensive period. Lastly, avoid bright displays that flash or blink or noisy lights which play tunes on loop. ‘Jingle Bells’ once will undoubtedly get anyone in the festive mood, but 50 times a night is sure to get you onto the naughty list”

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