Noise that is unreasonable or excessive is considered a noise nuisance. Noise is part of our daily lives and a degree of tolerance is expected.
The following factors are considered to determine if noise is unreasonable or excessive:
- Time of day
- Volume of the noise
- Persistence of the noise
- Source/cause of the noise
- Ability for the sound to be controlled
Noise as a result of day to day activity such as flushing toilets, children playing, washing machines, vacuums, lawnmowers, doors and cupboards closing, cannot generally be considered a noise nuisance, unless they are happening at unreasonable times, for example in the middle of the night so as to disturb sleep.
To be a nuisance, noise must be causing substantial and unreasonable interference in your home on a regular basis. Faulty burglar alarms or excessively loud music/television are examples of noise nuisance.
The process of determining what level of noise constitutes a nuisance can be quite subjective. For instance, the level of noise, its length and timing may be taken into consideration in ascertaining whether a nuisance has actually occurred.
Noise nuisance is generally treated as an Anti-Social Behaviour matter, to be handled by the local council. The police can deal with a complaint if the noise amounts to a breach of the peace, or where it is associated with threatening, violent or other anti-social behaviour. In very serious cases of anti-social behaviour, the police and local councils can work together to take action against residents under Part 1 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
- If you have an intruder alarm or are planning to have one fitted to your property, you are legally obliged to appoint two key holders and notify the police of the key holders detail
- You should also ensure that the alarm system complies with British Standard 4737 and is fitted with a 20 minute cut-out. The alarm should be regularly maintained by a competent company
- If you comply with the above requirements you may be eligible for a discount on your house insurance
- If you are having a party then your neighbours are far more likely to be understanding if you warn them well in advance that you are having it, (whether you invite them or not) and give them an indication of when it is likely to end
- On the actual night try and contain the party as much as possible within your home keep guests within the house or flat rather than in the garden and keep windows closed if at all possible
- Finish the party (or at least turn down the music) when you said you would and ask your guests to be considerate - we receive just as many complaints about guests leaving the premises or being outside as we do from loud music
Noise from construction sites
- To help minimise the noise pollution caused by necessary construction and demolition works, the council has the power to specify the way in which the work must be carried out, including the hours of work.
Noise from road vehicles
- Certain types of Noise may constitute an offence under road traffic law, e.g. sounding a motor horn at certain times on restricted roads.
- If you are subject to increased traffic noise due to new roads or altered traffic schemes you may be entitled to compensation or assistance toward sound insulation. You should contact Ashfield District Council or the Highways Agency for further advice.