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. Officers must take account of a number of factors when considering a statutory noise nuisance:

  • the volume of the noise - how loud it is
  • 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

Officers must also determine if the noise is being caused by somebody acting in an unreasonable manner.

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:

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We receive over 1000 domestic noise complaints every year and there is a wide variety of issues.The most common problems relate to loud music, barking dogs and DIY.

Whilst barking comes naturally to dogs, constant barking for prolonged periods can be disturbing or annoying for neighbours. Dogs often bark when they are left alone for prolonged periods whilst the owner is out of the house. The owner is often genuinely unaware the dog is barking and annoying the neighbours. We recommend the first step you take is to bring the barking to the attention of the dog owner and to agree an amicable settlement.

Cockerels can crow all day, starting when the sun rises. Cockerels are not required for hens to lay eggs. Keeping cockerels in the urban environment is likely to disturb residents living close by and we advise against keeping them in residential areas.

There is a Government Code of Practice for Audible intruder alarms, which requires you to:

  • ensure the system is correctly installed and maintained
  • check it has an automatic 20 minute cut-out device installed and it’s working

DIY works are usually short lived small projects undertaken by non-professionals. If you are undertaking a large, long term (more than 2 weeks) project see the advice regarding Construction Noise. If you are planning to carry out noisy DIY on your home, warn your neighbours well in advance and let them know what you are planning and the duration of the work.

We recommend that you only carry out noisy work between 9:00am and 8:00pm and try to undertake noisy work in the middle of this time period.

Please note we only investigate complaints of DIY noise that have been ongoing for at least 4 weeks.

We recommend the following hours of operation for noisy work:

  • Monday - Friday 8am - 6pm
  • Saturdays 9am - 2pm
  • No noisy work on Sundays or Bank Holidays

There are occasions when construction work is unavoidable at sensitive times (for example rail works). We work with operators to ensure you are informed of the times you may be disturbed.

For further advice for developers in minimising potential noise problems, view our Noise Pollution Leaflet.

We are unable to investigate complaints of noise from the occasional fireworks displays. We can investigate if a particular venue has regular and prolonged displays. The Fireworks Regulations 2004 restrict the time that fireworks can be set off to 11pm. Exceptions to this include Bonfire Night (Midnight); New Years Eve (1am) and Diwali and Chinese New Year (1am). Fireworks set off outside of these times are a police matter and you should contact Cheshire Police on the 101 non-emergency number.


What we can't investigate

There are some domestic noises that are not a statutory nuisance and can’t be investigated. Case law states that noise from the ordinary and reasonable use of residential premises can’t be considered as a statutory nuisance. Noises we can't investigate include lifestyle noises such as:

  • footfalls (especially between flats)
  • dropping objects and moving furniture
  • lights being switched on and off
  • general talking coming from both the house or the garden
  • shouting unless it is happening frequently and for prolonged periods
  • slamming of doors or cupboards
  • flushing of toilets
  • babies crying
  • children playing

Before making a complaint

Before making a complaint, it is always best to try and speak to your neighbour or business, as often they are not aware they are causing a problem. It will help to maintain a good neighbourly relationship if you are able to speak to your neighbour and resolve the problem between you. 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. See our leaflet Neighbour Noise complaint (PDF, 102KB).

Making the complaint

We are aware that there are occasions when it’s not practical or possible to speak to your neighbour or you may have tried this approach and it hasn’t worked. In this instance we recommend you contact the team to make a complaint:

Request a formal investigation into an alleged nuisance

To find out how we use your information see our privacy notice (opens in a new window).

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.

Myth busting

  • You can’t make as much noise as you like between 07:00 and 23:00
  • A one off party will not necessarily be classed as a noise nuisance
  • By informing your neighbours you are having a party doesn’t mean that you can make as much noise as you like.
  • We can take away your noise making equipment which can include stereo, games console, speakers and even televisions, if you ignore warnings.

Contact Environmental Protection 

Report a nuisance

0300 123 5015

Monday - Friday 8:30am to 5pm

Page last reviewed: 17 April 2024