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Report domestic noise nuisance

Complaints involving domestic nuisance such as loud music, barking dogs, domestic burning of refuse, anti-social behaviour and anything involving domestic, rather than commercial and businesses, can be investigated. 

What is nuisance noise?

The following examples could be considered a domestic noise nuisance:

  • barking dogs
  • individuals arguing
  • banging noises
  • loud televisions
  • loud music.

What noise problems can't we deal with?

We will not take action where the complaint is considered to be reasonable noise created by everyday life such as:

  • children playing
  • crying babies
  • washing machines
  • doors being closed
  • toilets being flushed.

We do not take complaints of noisy vehicles or traffic noise.

We can't help if a noise complaint is:

  • part of a larger conflict between neighbours who generally do not get on
  • if you are more sensitive to noise than the average person
  • if the problem has long periods between occurrence.

Whilst there are exceptions and each case will be different, the types of cases that have not been considered a nuisance are:

  • a person carrying out DIY during the day and at weekends over a few weeks
  • noise from children/ young people playing on a trampoline or other games in a garden
  • a party which happened just once or a few times a year and finished at a reasonable time
  • household appliances being used correctly such as washing machines, hoovers, cookers and tumble dryers
  • footsteps and closing of doors that can be heard from a neighbouring flat due to poor sound insulation
  • a dog barking intermittently when people visit or leave the house.

Resolving the issue yourself

As a resident, you can take forward your own action regarding neighbours who are believed to be causing a noise nuisance or disturbance to you. We encourage residents to discuss concerns with the alleged person responsible in the first instance as often people tell us 'I didn’t realise it was a problem' or 'why didn’t my neighbours tell me?'.

This can often be better than approaching us as residents can feel put out by us visiting and advising that a neighbour had made an official complaint. However, if you feel uncomfortable with addressing this with your neighbour or that this would put you at risk we can have this conversation for you.

It can be much easier to resolve the issue without informing us about the concern and it could be actioned much quicker with you attempting to speak to your neighbour. It important to speak to your neighbour in a polite and courteous way and discuss the problem you are experiencing. Before you do this it would be prudent to arrange a suitable time for this to take place.

It could be possible for your neighbours not to know about the noise or how it is affecting you so please ensure that you communicate positively to your neighbour. This way it is more likely to come to a compromise or agreement on the issue and discuss solutions on how it can be resolved.

If you fear that it will result in an altercation, you could try explaining the situation by sending a letter to them. The letter should illustrate the issue (include timeline of events) and the impact this is having, it is important to keep a friendly approach so it does not inflame the situation and ensure all interaction/correspondence is documented.

Report a noise nuisance

If you are unable to have a conversation with your neighbour, or it hasn't resolved the situation, and you are a home owner, council tenant, private tenant or live in other types of accommodation you can report noise to us. 

Report a noise nuisance

If this is an ongoing case and you have the details of the investigating officer, you can contact them directly. Our Officers work from 8am to 10pm 7 days per week and if available could attend to witness noise that is taking place.

Other ways to report a noise nuisance

If you cannot report the noise nuisance online you can contact us by: 

Evidence gathering

Upon making contact with us we will provide advice and undertake an initial assessment of your complaint. We can take forward different types of evidence gathering.

We will often speak the persons involved in the noise complaint to establish the facts and determine whether the noise constitutes a nuisance and/or is considered prejudicial to health. We may also speak to neighbours within the surrounding vicinity and complete neighbourhood surveys as well as completing witness visits and patrols within the area. If the noise is serious and is happening at the time you contact us, we may be able to come straight out although this is subject to availability.

We may be required to speak to other agencies such as the police to establish wider information in order to build a case as well as installing noise monitoring equipment and issue diary sheets. This will allow the investigating officer to review this evidence and determine if action can be taken.

You should consider keeping a record of times and dates of the issue and the impact this is having to you or others especially if the issue is persistent. It is important that you provide a detailed description of the noise that is occurring as this will provide an indication of the type, time, duration and frequency. It is also important to document any witness’ to the noise.

Noise Abatement Notice

It is under Part 3 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 that requires authorities to take reasonable and proportionate steps to investigate and explore matters relating to noise nuisance and take action where a statutory nuisance exists.

Should we be satisfied that a statutory nuisance exists, has occurred or is likely to take place in the future we will serve a Noise Abatement Notice.

The notice may mandate that the nuisance to cease completely or be restricted to certain times of day. The notice can be served on the responsible person/s who then has 21 days to appeal; failure to comply may constitute an offence and may result in legal proceedings. If an individual is found guilty of an offence this could result in a maximum fine of £5000 for domestic premises.

We can also take action under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, for example issuing Community Protection Warnings (CPWs) and Community Protection Notices (CPNs). 

Taking your own action

Many noise nuisance complaints are a small part of a very complex situation, and often relationships between neighbours were strained before any noise incidents.

In such cases you may approach the Magistrates’ Court yourself using Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The court can then decide the rights and wrongs of the situation. There is more information about taking your own action on the noise web page