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Noise nuisance

Noise can be defined as ‘unwanted sound’ and whether it is a nuisance depends on how much it effects the enjoyment of anyone living nearby. Excessive noise can seriously affect the quality of life and health.

There is no specific decibel level that constitutes a Statutory Nuisance. It is impact on the normal enjoyment that is more relevant.

The following information will help explain where we have powers to help you deal with noise. We can deal with many types of noise problems, from domestic and business premises.

Examples of complaints we can investigate include:

  • loud music for long periods of time
  • DIY work – drilling, hammering or car repairs for example
  • dog barking excessively
  • house or car alarms sounding for long periods
  • noise from commercial or industrial premises
  • musical instruments
  • parties with excessive noise
  • car stereos, engines revving and car horns

There are some noise problems that we are not likely to be able to be deal with as a nuisance:

  • one-off parties
  • road traffic
  • young children
  • noise associated with normal reasonable household behaviours (vacuum cleaners, washing machines, DIY tools at reasonable times)
  • noise caused by poor sound insulation (if the person/s is behaving reasonably)
  • emergency road works at night carried out by utility companies

Keeping the noise down

It is important to consider your neighbours and try to minimise the noise you are making.

Do

  • be aware of your neighbours when you are doing something noisy or let them know beforehand (especially if holding a party)
  • keep the stereo volume down, especially after 11pm, or use headphones
  • control the bass level; low frequencies are transmitted further and through structures
  • remember if you live in a flat or maisonette, that noise and vibration travel easily through walls and floors
  • realise that your pleasure should not lead to your neighbour’s distress
  • pull TVs and speakers away from walls and up off floors
  • keep musical instrument practices short and at respectable times

Do not

  • carry out noisy DIY before 8am or after 9pm and be mindful of neighbours even between these hours
  • if possible avoid DIY on Sundays
  • play music at a level which annoys your neighbours
  • have frequent noisy parties in your home
  • leave dogs alone for long periods
  • sound car horns, slam doors and rev engines at night – you might wake someone up
  • don’t use vacuum cleaners or washing machines late at night

If you’re disturbed by noise

Try and talk to the person responsible. They may not realise they are causing a problem. Be calm and polite and listen to their point of view. Try to come up with an answer that makes both of you happy.

If you would prefer to send them a letter, you can use these templates.

Document preview
Formal letter to neighbour

DOC,
Document preview
Informal letter to neighbour

DOC,

Report a nuisance issue

If talking to your neighbour does not work, we can investigate your complaint. We will need your name, address and contact details and details of where the noise nuisance is coming from. We will then contact the person or company causing the problem.

To make a complaint we will need:

  • your contact details
  • details of the source of the problem
  • any other relevant information you may have. The case officer is likely to ask you to complete diary records to show when the nuisance is affecting you.

Report a noise nuisance issue

We will ask you to keep a diary record of the problems over three weeks. This should include:

  • a description of the noise nuisance and how it affects you in your home
  • the dates the noise disturbs you
  • the times the noise starts and stop

Last reviewed: February 23, 2024 by Qi

Next review due: August 23, 2024

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