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Report a problem with noise

Report a problem with noise

Owner-occupiers, private sector tenants, housing association tenants and commercial premises

Council tenants or leaseholders

If you are a council tenant or leaseholder and would like to make a complaint about noise from a neighbour or your estate:

Information needed when you make a complaint

  • your name and address (we are not able to deal with anonymous complaints but we will not disclose your name to the person that you are complaining about without asking you first)
  • the address where the noise is coming from (if you know it the name of the person making the noise)
  • the type of noise you are suffering from.
  • when and how often it occurs.

We can deal with noise from

  • barking dogs
  • building/construction sites
  • burglar alarms
  • car alarms
  • loud music
  • nightclubs
  • neighbours
  • parties
  • pubs
  • kitchen extracts, air conditioning units and machinery

We have limited powers to deal with

  • deliveries
  • road works
  • railway noise and dust
  • environmental noise

What types of noise can not be dealt with?

We are not able to deal with noise on the street or in public places unless machinery, equipment or vehicles cause it. For example we have no powers to deal with people who are shouting or with children playing.

We are also not able to deal with noise from traffic. 

How will my complaint be dealt with?

In the first instance we will write to the person making the noise and make them aware that their activities are causing a noise disturbance, we will ask them to stop

 Often people are not aware that they are causing a problem and we find that the initial warning letter stops the noise.  However if the noise continues we ask you to complete a noise nuisance diary and return it to us. 

Noise diary sheets

We hope that the warning letter will resolve the noise problem, however if this is not the case and the noise continues you will need to keep a noise diary:

Complaint reference number

If you wish to lodge a noise complaint please contact us to get a complaint reference number. The reference number must be added to the top of the noise diary sheet. We are unable to progress noise complaints without this reference number.

Noise diary sheets form the basis of our noise investigation. The diary sheets tell us what times of day the noise occurs, how long it goes on for, the type of noise, where you hear it in your home and how the noise affects you. All this is vital information in helping us establish the best method for investigating your complaint and it will help us establish if the noise is a 'statutory nuisance'.

If the diary reveals the noise only occurs at time when no reactive noise service is available then it is clear that the best method of witnessing the noise will be to install noise-monitoring equipment.

If the noise is something that is predictable, constant or occurs during times when a reactive noise service is available then the investigation is best conducted using programmed site visits.

The noise diary sheets may also be useful if you decide to take your own action under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Note: Due to the large number of noise complaints we receive, our policy states that we only carry out further investigations for complaints of noise nuisance once completed noise diary sheets are returned.

If the diary sheets are not returned we will assume that the noise-warning letter has resolved your complaint and that no further action is required.

If you have difficulty in completing the diary sheets for any reason please contact the  compliance and enforcement team and we will try and find a suitable alternative to suit your circumstances.

Once your noise diary sheets have been returned your case will be allocated to one of our officers for investigation. We will contact you and discuss the case with you, setting out the method they will use to investigate your noise complaint.

What actions can we take?

The information you provide on the diary sheets will help the case officer to assess the noise and decide what action can be taken. Due to limited resources it will only be possible for the officer to visit on three occasions and the information you provide will help us plan these visits effectively.

If due to the times the noise occurs a visit is not practical, we will use noise-monitoring equipment.

We can take action if the noise is a nuisance in law (“a statutory nuisance”). We will assess the noise to see if it is sufficient to be a nuisance.

If the noise nuisance is due to unreasonable behaviour, we can serve a notice under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 requiring the noise to be stopped or reduced. If the noise continues after the notice has expired, we may prosecute the person causing the noise in the Magistrates Court.

We also have powers to seize noise-making equipment and carry out works in default.