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Noise Nuisance

Ashfield District Council's Community Safety Team receives complaints of domestic noise which can include:

  • Barking dogs
  • Individuals arguing
  • Banging noises
  • Loud televisions
  • Loud music

It should be noted that the Council 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.

 

Photo of a party

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.

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. Ashfield District Council encourages 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 the Council as residents can feel put out by a Council Officer 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 local authorities 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.

If you are a home owner, council, private or live in other types of accommodation you can report noise to the Council. You can contact us by contacting the Community Safety’s Admin Support Team on telephone 01623 457345 or via email at: admin.support@ashfield.gov.uk

If this is an ongoing case and you have the details of the investigating officer, you can contact them directly. Our Officers work from 8:00 hours to 22:00 hours 7 days per week and if available could attend to witness noise that is taking place.

Upon making contact with the Community Safety Team, an Officer will provide advice and undertake an initial assessment of your complaint. The officer can take forward different types of evidence gathering.

Our Community Safety Team 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 the Council, we may be able to come straight out although this is subject to officer availability.

The investigating officer maybe 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.

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 Ashfield District Council be satisfied that a statutory nuisance exists, has occurred or is likely to take place in the future the Council 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.

The council 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).

1.If the issue has not resolved at this stage and there is a lack of cooperation from the alleged parties, and you are aggrieved by the existence of a nuisance, you can file a complaint direct to the Magistrates Court, legislation for the process is detailed under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Under these provisions you are required to write a formal letter to your neighbour stipulating that you consider the noise that is occurring is amounting to a nuisance and unless this ceases or reduced to a satisfactory standard within a reasonable timeframe that you intend to escalate the complaint to the Magistrates Court. It is important that you keep a copy and record of the letter documentation and proof of postage as this can act as evidence at court.

2. If you conclude there has not been any improvement and you consider this a nuisance you are then required to inform the neighbours of your intentions again. This letter should provide clarification to your neighbour that you will provide a minimum of 3 further days before you take action under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The notice should be dated, clear, concise and detail the complaint/s and processes that has took place so far. It is important you keep a copy and record of the letter documentation and proof of postage as this can act as evidence at court. This may be used as evidence to illustrate you have acted reasonably and provided an opportunity for the situation to be rectified before applying to the Magistrates.

3.To apply to Magistrates Court for Ashfield residence you can apply to local courts such as the Mansfield or Nottingham Magistrate and tell them you wish to file a complaint under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 against a neighbour who is creating a noise that amounts to a nuisance.

4. At this stage it is likely that you will provided with an appointment to attend Magistrates Court and instructions the processes pertaining to this including giving evidence, calling of witnesses, attendance and liable costs. It is also likely that the accused (defendant) will attend court to defend themselves and may provide evidence against yourself in order to do this.

5. Legal Representation – You can represent yourself although it is advised that you should seek advice from a Solicitor. At Court, the Court Clerk will provide you suitable advice and guidance in tandem the Court's duty solicitor.

6. Post Court – After the court hearing if it is decided that a nuisance exists, the Court will make an Order requiring the defendant to abate the nuisance, and will stipulate within the order specific measures that is considered necessary for this to take place and prevent further occurrences. The Magistrates Court can also impose a fines and request the noise maker to pay your expenses incurred however this is only if the Magistrates conclude in your favour.

7. Finally, if the issues is reoccurring in nature, it is important to continue to complete diaries of noise incidents and return to court in the future. If the neighbour breaches the order they may be found guilty of an offence and be fined. The Court Clerk can provide you with further information on how to take this forward.