JUSTICE Minister Kenny MacAskill is investigating Scotland’s noise control laws after two Edinburgh constituents said sounds from a chip shop fryer were causing their homes to vibrate.
Heather O’Neill and Aitzaz Malik said noises from St Andrews chip shop in Portobello High Street were creating a continuous, low-level vibration and having a “catastrophic” effect on their lives.
The sounds, generated by the chip fryer’s fans, have been measured by city council noise control officials, who found them to be below the level at which action is required.
But after complaints from neighbours Ms O’Neill, 52, and Mr Malik, 29, Mr MacAskill, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Eastern, has begun his own inquiry into the “constant droning” sound he said they had been forced to live with and added that he was seeking guidance from counterparts in environmental affairs on national noise control legislation.
He said: “I am aware that council officials have been out to measure noise levels and that current levels are not high enough to be causing a nuisance.
“I have written to my ministerial colleague asking for clarification on the national noise levels set under current legislation.
“Meantime, I am conscious that my constituents are living with a constant droning noise and I am seeking to resolve matters for all concerned.”
Mr Malik, from Punjab province in Pakistan and a Masters student of water resource management at Heriot-Watt University, said noises from the chip shop were creating a “buzzing, vibrating sensation” which he could feel in his bed.
He said: “This has been going on for nearly nine months. I cannot sleep in my own bedroom, and it’s been getting louder over the past few weeks.
“I’ve been sleeping in my living room but it’s so cold, and the noise is there as well. The last time I had a decent night’s sleep was when I was in London about two months ago.
“I am totally exhausted. It’s affecting everything.”
Ms O’Neill, a self-employed dog behaviourist, said: “The noise has had a catastrophic effect. “If you are sitting at the dining room table, your whole body is buzzing with the noise. It travels right up you and it’s like a pressure – as if your ears are going to pop.
“If I’ve been sleeping on the sofa, it wakes me up and my head and ears are sore. I now cannot use my home in the evening, or in the afternoon and evening at weekends.
“My friend who wears a hearing aid says it squeals and has to be readjusted whenever she comes into my home.”
But bosses at St Andrews chip shop said they had entered into mediation talks with Ms O’Neill and Mr Malik and done everything they could to minimise noise from the fryer.
Owner Harem Murdochy said: “There’s nothing in the shop that’s old or broken and we are also planning future renovations. We’ve even had the fryer fan changed and rubber put round the pipes leading from it. Of course, there will be some noise when you have the amount of machinery that we have in here.”