Inside ProblemsOutside Problems

My Neighbour Has Installed A CCTV System

It is becoming more and more common for people to install a CCTV system in and around their homes. Installing them has become much more accessible in recent years due to lowering costs, greater ease of installation, and more ways to view the footage captured. Previously people had to have very industrial looking cameras attached to the side of their houses, but now the same effect can be achieved through the use of a smart door bell with its constantly watching camera inside.

To the people who install them, they are a useful tool to see what is going on around their home but for those around it can feel very intrusive – particularly the camera(s) are pointed directly into your home or the means by which you access your home.

Does My Neighbour Need Planning Permission

Planning permission is required for the “carrying out of any development of land” (section 57(1), Town and Country Planning Act 1990)

Development is defined as “carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under the land or the making of any material change in the use of any builkdings or the land” (section 55(1), Town and Country Planning Act 1990)

However, CCTV system installations benefit from permitted development rights

Class F, Part 2 of Schedule 2 of The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2015 states

Permitted development

F.  The installation, alteration or replacement on a building of a closed circuit television camera to be used for security purposes.
Development not permitted

F.1  Development is not permitted by Class F if—

(a) the building on which the camera would be installed, altered or replaced is a listed building or a scheduled monument;

(b) the dimensions of the camera including its housing exceed 0.75 metres by 0.25 metres by 0.25 metres;

(c) any part of the camera would, when installed, altered or replaced, be less than 2.5 metres above ground level;

(d) any part of the camera would, when installed, altered or replaced, protrude from the surface of the building by more than 1 metre when measured from the surface of the building;

(e) any part of the camera would, when installed, altered or replaced, be in contact with the surface of the building at a point which is more than 1 metre from any other point of contact;

(f) any part of the camera would be less than 10 metres from any part of another camera installed on a building;

(g) the development would result in the presence of more than 4 cameras on the same side of the building; or

(h) the development would result in the presence of more than 16 cameras on the building.

As such, generally your neighbour does not need planning permission for CCTV systems. Camera doorbells appear to have fallen into the grey area, whilst falling afoul of F1.(c) above – they are still obviously everywhere.

What Can I Do If I Am Unhappy?

We would suggest looking at our taking action page here.

For CCTV specifically though, we would highlight being informal with your neighbours (particularly as you’re likely being recorded if you go visit them!)

It is well worth asking for a copy of the footage if you can. This would probably show you that what is being recorded is far less intrusive than you suspect. Cameras are not great and not likely to be able to see long distances with any great clarity. Explaining your concerns might though give the neighbour a nudge into properly setting up the camera so that it (a) doesn’t record you as much or (b) potentially move it a little to achieve a similar effect.

What Should I Do If I Want to Install a CCTV System?

If you have read the above, you can probably see where people slip up in regards to their installations. However, we at NeighbourTroubles do like to always to promote a good relationship with neighbours and so would like to suggest the following ideas:

  • talking to your neighbours before its installation to get their view
  • adjust the settings so you’re only capturing the absolute minimum, and definitely not anything which isn’t on your property
  • putting a sticker on your door to highlight that a CCTV system is in operation
  • have a look through this Information Commissioner’s Office page

Don’t forget that your neighbours have a right to privacy. This was recently highlighted in a court case which a camera doorbell user lost.

There are also other options though to secure your home which could less intrusive

  • better lighting at night
  • a burglar alarm
  • a dummy CCTV system poster
  • buying a safe
  • securing windows and doors

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