Every year the Environmental Protection Team receives over 1000
complaints relating to noise from neighbours. The majority of these
complaints relate to noise which need never arise if consideration
is shown to neighbours regarding the potential impact of their
activities. This page offers some suggestions to help prevent
against causing a noise nuisance and how we will investigate
What is a Noise Nuisance?
A statutory noise nuisance is classed as a significant and
unreasonable amount of noise which materially affects the comfort
and use of your property. There are a number of factors an officer
must take into account when considering if a noise amounts to a
statutory nuisance. The main factors officers and the courts must
- How loud is the noise
- How often it happens
- How long it lasts
- What time does it happen
- The character of the noise
- The local area i.e. commercial or residential
In addition to the above, officers must determine if the noise
is being caused by somebody acting in an unreasonable manner.
On the whole it is not necessary for noise readings to be taken
and it is the officer’s professional judgement which would be used
to determine if the noise amounts to a statutory nuisance as set
out in section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Types of Noise
There are many different potential sources of noise which can
cause a nuisance to neighbours, below is a list of the main types
of noise that we receive complaints about.
Making a Complaint
Have you spoken to your neighbour? Before making a complaint to
the Environmental Protection Team, it is always best to try and
speak to your neighbour, as more often than not, the person or
business is not aware they are causing a problem. We know from
experience, that if you are able to speak to your neighbour and
resolve the problem between you, it will help to maintain a good
neighbourly relationship. We appreciate that this may be daunting,
and officers are able to offer informal advice about the best way
to go about contacting your neighbour for more information please
see the leaflet – Neighbour Noise
complaint (PDF, 102KB).
What if that does not work?
Despite the above, the team is aware that there are occasions
when it’s not practical or possible, for whatever reason, to speak
to your neighbour or you may have tried this approach and it hasn’t
worked. In this instance we recommend you follow the steps
Contact the Environmental Protection Team using either our
Report a Noise Complaint form or via the telephone number 0300
123 5015. At this point it is important that you provide as much
detail as possible relating to the complaint and in particular, you
must include the correct address of where the noise is coming from
and your contact details. Please note, that your details are kept
confidential and will not be disclosed to the person you are
complaining about without your permission. Other information which
will help the officer is detailed below:
- The type of noise i.e. music, dogs, alarm etc
- The time of day the noise is happening i.e. night time, day
- How often the noise happens and for how long it occurs
- What have you done to try and resolve the problem
- As much information as possible about the location of the noise
i.e. front or back garden, which room etc please note this is
especially important for complaints relating to commercial premises
as there is often a range of potential noise sources and it will
help to identify the problem.
An officer will contact you within 5 working days to discuss the
problem and explain what informal actions are available, agree
which is the most appropriate for the circumstances and the
If the noise continues, you must contact the investigating
officer who will determine if a formal investigation is required.
If an investigation is required, you will be asked to keep a log of
when the noise is causing a problem. The officer will also explain
how your complaint will be investigated.
If, in the officers opinion, they are not satisfied that the
noise is sufficient to amount to a statutory nuisance they will
explain their decision and what options may be available.
Noise complaints outside of office hours
Please note the council does not offer a 24 hour response for
general noise complaints, but the team will offer advice regarding
the sounding of burglar alarms during weekends and bank holidays,
for more information please see the Burglar
Alarms section . If you need to make a new complaint about a
noise nuisance you should contact the team via the
Report a Noise Complaint form or via 0300 123 5015 during
office hours. However, if you are having problems in relation to an
existing noise complaint you should discuss the situation with the
investigating officer during office hours, who will be able to
provide more information.
- You can’t make as much noise as you like between 07:00 and
- A one off party will not necessarily be classed as a noise
- By informing your neighbours you are having a party doesn’t
mean that you can make as much noise as you like.
- The council can take away your noise making equipment which can
include stereo, Games console, speakers and even televisions, if
you ignore warnings.