Noise nuisance

About noise nuisance

Noise is defined as a nuisance in law if it causes injury, is likely to cause injury, or interferes unreasonably with someone's personal comfort or enjoyment.

You can report the following noise complaints to us:

  • Noisy neighbours (music, house alarms, DIY at unreasonable hours, barking dogs)
  • Noise from commercial premises (entertainment, noisy revellers, ventilation systems, alarms)
  • Noise from industrial premises (factories, construction, demolition, alarms)
  • Car alarms

Before you make a formal complaint, we advise you to talk to the person responsible for the noise. They may not be aware that there is a problem and you may be able to solve the issue without the need for us to intervene. The Problem Neighbours website has some useful advice on how to do this.

We aim to respond within five working days by letter, telephone or by visiting your property. If you make an anonymous complaint our actions may be limited - we cannot take enforcement action without assessing the impact of noise on your life.

Where possible we will then send a letter to the person making the alleged noise to let them know that they are causing a complaint. Often this informal approach is enough to resolve the problem, as many people are unaware of the nuisance. We may send you a log sheet to record the dates, times and details of the noise. It is very important that you fill out the log sheets accurately as it will show us the extent of the problem. The log sheets are particularly important if we decide to take formal or legal action to resolve the noise problem.

We use the sheets to assess whether a noise is a nuisance according to the following factors:

  • How often the noise occurs
  • How long the noise lasts
  • The time of day or night the noise occurs
  • How the noise disturbs you
  • Where the noise is coming from

If we need to take action, we may send an abatement notice instructing the noisemaker to stop the disturbance. We can also apply for a warrant of the peace and seize offending equipment. If the notice is ignored then this could lead to proceedings in the magistrates court. If the perpetrator is found guilty, they may be fined up to £5,000 for a domestic situation and up to £20,000 for a commercial situation.