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Property in France

Peacocks Ruffle Neighbour's Feathers

Tuesday 08 October 2013

A homeowner who complained about the noise from his neighbour's peacocks has had his case upheld in court.

The case concerned a home owner and his neighbour living in the commune of Lançon-de-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhône, in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.

The complainant's house was approximately 300 hundred metres from the offending property, where there resided a couple who reared peacocks.

The noise from the peacocks was confirmed by an independent acoustics expert who, although using no measuring equipment, stated to the court that the noise levels from the peacocks exceeded those that were normal and reasonable in the countryside.

The complainants stated that the noise was a particular problem during the mating season of the peacocks, which occurred between May and September each year.

The owners of the peacocks were registered farmers who argued in court that, under French law, noise from farm animals could not constitute a nuisance as such noise was a normal feature of living in the countryside.

In addition, they argued that as they had been farmers for over 30 years, and that the property affected by the noise had been constructed later, again under French law the owners had no entitlement to complain about the noise, provided the activity was being carried out in accordance with the relevant regulations.

These arguments were not accepted by the court, who found that the farmers could provide no proof that they had been actually rearing peacocks prior to construction of the property.

Morever, as the peacocks were not destined for human consumption they were not farm animals and that, therefore, the rearing of peacocks was not an agricultural activity.

Accordingly, they ordered the couple to relocate the peacocks far enough away from the adjoining property so that no nuisance was caused.

The complainant was also awarded damages and the couple subject to a daily fine until and unless the nuisance ceased.

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