Noise nuisance

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 consider are:

  • 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.

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:

  • Domestic

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

  • Barking dogs

Whilst barking does come naturally to dogs, there are occasions when constant barking for prolonged periods can be disturbing or annoying for neighbours. One of the main reasons for dogs barking is when they are left alone for prolonged periods, whilst the owner is out of the house and therefore the owner is often genuinely unaware the dog is barking and annoying the neighbours. In light of this, we recommend that the first step should be that you bring the barking to the attention of the owner and try to negotiate an amicable settlement.

  • Cockerels

Contrary to popular belief, cockerels will crow all day, starting when the sun rises. It is worth noting that cockerels are not required for hens to lay eggs. Keeping cockerels in the urban environment is highly likely to disturb those residents living close by and we would always advise against keeping them in residential areas.

  • Burglar alarms

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
  • Nominate a key holder for the property who can respond within about 20 minutes and who is available whilst you are away. This can be done by completing our Alarm Keyholder registration form.
  • DIY

DIY works are, in general, short lived small projects which would be expected to be undertaken by non-professionals. If you are undertaking a large, long term (more than 2 weeks) project please see the advice regarding Construction Noise below.

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 ensure that noisy works are undertaken in the middle of this time period.

  • Construction

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 will always try to work with operators to ensure the public is informed of the likely times they may be disturbed.

For further advice for developers in minimising potential noise problems, please view our Noise Pollution Leaflet using the link below.

  • Fireworks

We are unable to investigate complaints of noise from the occasional fireworks displays; the only time when this can be investigated is if a particular venue has regular and prolonged displays. The Fireworks Regulations 2004 restrict the time at which fireworks can be set off to 11:00pm. There are exceptions to this including Bonfire Night (Midnight); New Years Eve (1:00 am) and Dawali and Chinese New Year (1:00 am).

Please note that fireworks set off outside of the above times are a Police matter and you should contact Cheshire Police on the 101 non-emergency number.

What sort of noise can't be investigated?

Prior to making a complaint it is important to note that whilst officers will try their best to help, there are certain domestic noises which will not amount to a statutory nuisance and as such can’t be investigated. The reason for this is because case law states that noise from the ordinary and reasonable use of residential premises can’t be considered as a statutory nuisance. These generally 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

Making a complaint

Have you spoken to your neighbour? Before making a complaint, 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 contact the team to make a complaint via the Report a Noise Complaint form or 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.

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 us

environmentalprotection@cheshireeast.gov.uk

0300 123 5015

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