Common causes for complaint are loud music, parties, barking dogs, noise from industrial premises and DIY.
What constitutes a noise nuisance?
Noise becomes a nuisance when it affects your ability to use your own property in the way you normally would, for example, the noise prevents you from sleeping or perhaps you have to turn the volume on your own stereo or television up in order to hear it. Before we can consider any formal action, we have to show the noise is a statutory nuisance.
What can I do about a noisy neighbour?
Often your neighbours may not realise they are causing you a problem. Therefore, the first step is to approach your neighbour and ask politely if they could stop doing whatever is causing you a problem.
If this doesn't work, or you feel unable to approach your neighbour, contact the Environmental Health Division and ask to speak to an officer who deals with noise nuisance. If the person you are complaining about is a Council tenant, your complaint should be put in writing to the Tenancy Services department. Contact us
What will we do?
You will be sent a diary sheet on which you should record the times and dates of the noise and effect the noise has on you. This record should be returned to the Environmental Health division within 28 days so further action can be considered.
At the same time as the diary sheet is sent to you, a letter will be sent to the alleged offender highlighting the complaint to them. Your details are not released to the offender, however, you should be aware it may be possible for them to assume who made the complaint against them.
Following return of your diary sheet, the case officer may arrange for the installation of noise monitoring equipment at your property. This equipment enables you to record any disturbing noise incidents as you hear them.
What happens if a Statutory Notice is proven?
If the Council are satisfied the noise is frequent enough and loud enough to constitute a Statutory Nuisance, an Abatement Notice will be served on the person responsible for the nuisance. The Abatement Notice, served under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, is a legal notice and tells the person responsible they are causing a Statutory nuisance and requires them to stop it and where appropriate prevent its recurrence. Often this will resolve the problem, however, you must continue to document the times and dates if you are still troubled by the noise.
What happens if the noise still continues?
If the person responsible for the noise does not comply with the Abatement Notice they are committing an offence. The case officer will want to prove a breach of the Abatement Notice and may either re-install the noise monitoring equipment into your property or witness the noise themselves.
Should a breach of the Abatement Notice be proved, consideration will be given to prosecuting the person responsible. At this stage a witness statement will be required from you. Although the majority of cases do not get this far, you should be aware that at this point you may be required as a witness in any legal proceeding.
How can I report a Noise Nuisance?
You can report a noise nuisance by contacting Environmental Health using the details provided under the contacts section of this page.
Alarms going off accidentally can be extremely annoying - often waking up an entire Neighbourhood. New laws now allow all local authorities in England and Wales to designate areas where premises with intruder alarms must register a key holder, who should be available if an alarm goes off accidentally. If you have a car or intruder alarm, make sure it is properly fitted, regularly maintained and has a cut out. Whether it is obligatory under law or not, registering a key holder for your premises with your local authority can save you aggravation and expense if your alarm goes off accidentally when you are out or away.
Residents can register their burglar alarm with environmental health by completing an Intruder Alarm & Key Holder Information Form. The service uses the information - which includes a key holder who can be contacted in an emergency - if people are away from home and the alarm is causing a nuisance to other residents. If people are not registered or a key holder cannot be contacted, the Council may have to silence the alarm under Notice and recover costs from the homeowner - which could amount to around £300.