French officials hope drawing up a list of the noises integral to country life will help combat unreasonable complaints.
Noise complaints over cockerels, crickets and frogs have led French officials to take action over unreasonable expectations of the countryside.
Pierre Morel-A-L’Huissier is backing a Private Members’ Bill to protect rural noises from ‘holidaymakers or neo-rurals, who can’t cope with this kind of nuisance’.
The MP hopes a law is established so that local councils can draw up a list of typical sounds of the countryside that a judge can use if a complaint reaches court.
‘Many people come to seek calm and nature in the countryside. But some are unable to live in rural areas,’ he said. ‘You can’t come to the countryside and think you own it.’
Bruno Dionis du Séjour, mayor of Gajac in south west France, has also backed calls for the Ministry of Culture to issue protection to rural sounds.
He said the bill was necessary because of ‘an accumulation of complaints from people who decide to settle in rural areas and bring cases before the courts in the name of so-called sound attacks’.
This action follows a growing number of complaints from the public relating to wildlife, cattle and other countryside noises.
In northern France, police told a resident to silence the frogs in his garden and in the Dordogne, a pest control company received a request for removal of noisy crickets by a disgruntled villager.
Meanwhile on the Île d’Oléron on the Atlantic coast, the owner of a cockerel called Maurice was summoned to court because her rooster was making too much of a racket.
The Saint-André-de-Valborgne mayor in the Cévennes recently put up a sign at the entrance of his village warning holidaymakers to ‘enter at you own peril’ because of the sounds they will encounter, including church bells, chickens and tractors.
If the law is passed, we’d quite like to see similar legislation this side of the pond. We think a countryside without the noises of wildlife and livestock would be a pretty miserable, don’t you agree?
How big a problem is road noise and what, if anything, can be done about it? Arabella Youens investigates.
Nothing would get done in the countryside without these stalwarts of village life.