Case Notes: Noise and Human Rights

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The facts of the case were quite simple. The applicant lived in a flat in a residential quarter of Valencia in Spain. Since 1974 the local authority, Valencia City Council, had allowed licenced premises such as bars, pubs and discotheques to open in the vicinity of her home. This made it quite impossible for people who lived in the area to sleep. Gomez claimed that this state of affairs amounted to a breach of her right to respect for her home contrary to Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights on the grounds that whereas the Council was not the direct source of the noise pollution, the Council had caused the noise pollution by issuing an unlimited number of licences to the offending premises. The applicant claimed that in sharp contrast to the circumstances in Hatton v The United Kingdom, her home was neither within nor adjacent to an area of vital importance such as an area which was relevant to strategic transport or communications infrastructure.

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