Daily Archives: June 20, 2009
They say bad money drives out good. The same is true of noise. Tavistock gets a number of buskers, most of them at best entertaining and at worst harmless. But there’s one who uses electronic amplification and is a serious nuisance for several streets around. The council say they’ve had complaints but can’t do anything without some big fuss, and new bylaws that would impact on every busker. The police say they’ve had complaints, but can only move him on if he’s on the public pavement, which they had already done long ago …
He was there this morning, so I went out to escape. I walked the long/scenic way to Morrisons for a big shop, meaning I must’ve walked 3-4 miles in total, plus the shopping. On my return with shopping, the bad busker was still there, and I was mightily pissed off.
But on my way home is our main square. There parked up was a big people-carrier, bearing the logo “Geoffrey Cox”. That’s our MP. I wonder if he has any thoughts on the issue of “minor” nuisance? Miracle – he was open for me to just sit down and have a word! So I took the opportunity to air my thoughts on the subject.
Of course with a politician you can never quite tell if he’s listening or just being polite, but when I mentioned persistent car alarms and building alarms as an example of “minor nuisance”, he agreed with some enthusiasm, and said he suffers from it in his London residence. So that seemed like a good launch point for my basic suggestion:
- Statutory quick&easy fixed penalties for perpetrators.
- Statutory modest damages to victims through a simple and easy process.
- Make insurers by default liable for the cost.
The beauty of making insurers liable is that someone with the power to make things happen is incentivised to do just that. An insurer can insist on standards for alarms, and disallow the defective crap that causes all the nuisance. Everyone wins – except perhaps a few cowboys who undercut the makers and installers of alarms that are fit for purpose.
He seemed to like the idea of fixed penalties. So there’s just the faint chance he’ll now raise it with his colleagues. Of course, something like existing ASBO laws might equally well apply to perpetrators of minor nuisance (and would, one imagines, work better for bad-busker), but that would require more imagination on the part of the minions who administer the law, as well as the actual lawmakers.