Noise nuisance

Summer noise nuisance

Herefordshire Council receives up to 1,000 noise complaints a year, with a 50 percent increase over the summer months.

If you find loud music, parties and barking dogs keeping you awake at night, call the out of hours noise team on 01432 261761. We will be on call over the summer from 9pm to 2am every Friday and Saturday evening, and August bank holiday Sunday.

Be a good neighbour this summer

Follow these top tips to keep the summer fun for everyone:

Parties and gatherings

Always be respectful towards your neighbours and their family, particularly if they have to get up for work the next day. Neighbours are less likely to have a problem with a party if they know about it in advance and what time it will finish. Remember noise from the garden travels further, so make plans to go inside later in the evening and encourage your guests to keep their voices down.

Stereos and TVs

Position the TV and speakers away from your neighbour's wall - raised off the floor if possible. Keep the volume low as bass frequencies carry further, or use headphones if you like your music loud.

Dogs

Constant barking or whining from a dog can be disturbing to neighbours, especially in the summer when people (and dogs) spend more time outside. Dogs may bark because they are lonely or unhappy; if you are going away and your dog is being checked on by a dog sitter, leave a contact number with your neighbours just in case of problems.

DIY

Don't mow your lawn or start DIY too early or late - you may be an early riser or a night owl, but others may not be! Noisy DIY activities should be kept to a minimum amount of time, or pre-warn neighbours about lengthy DIY work. When buying new power tools, look for the Quiet Mark Award which can help you choose quieter equipment.

Cars

Make sure the music in your car isn't disturbing others when you are parked up or waiting for someone. Check that your car alarm works properly and if not, get it mended quickly. Be considerate when carrying out car repairs and make sure you don't start your work too early or too late.

Alarms

Leave a house key and contact number with a neighbour - they can contact you if the house alarm goes off while you are away.

Businesses

Regularly monitor and maintain noisy equipment that can be heard from outside your premises, especially if they operate through the night. When there is less traffic on the roads, low frequency and machinery noises can become louder.

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.