Noise Nuisance

Customer Survey
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There are no specific noise levels that are acceptable usually. The Council will look at each case and try to determine whether or not a statutory nuisance exists.

A building site near me is causing a lot of noise - are there any times that they need to adhere to, and are there any limits to the level of noise allowed?

There is guidance with regard to building site times, and these times are usually as below:

  • Monday to Friday: 7.30am to 6.00pm
  • Saturday: 7.30am to 1.00pm
  • Sunday: No noisy work at all

There are no limits to the levels of noise of building sites within the above times, although under Health & Safety legislation, there are precautions that have to be taken with regard to the employees on the site, wearing ear protection etc. As the noise is only for a short period, this would not be a statutory nuisance.

I have a problem with noise from deliveries early in the morning or late at night. Are there any guidelines?

These complaints generally would not be considered a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, although officers can look into the matter and speak to the companies involved to try to reduce any impact.

I would like to have a party but I think my neighbours will complain. Am I allowed?

We would advise that you give all neighbours plenty of warning if you intend to have a party that may cause them some disturbance. If these are one-off events then the District Council would not want to prevent such occurrences, assuming they were of a reasonable volume and did not continue all night.

However, if you regularly have parties then you are more likely to be causing a statutory noise nuisance and the District Council could serve notice on you to prevent future disturbances. It is therefore best to be responsible and neighbourly and cause as little disturbance as possible.

Are there any time limits when I can play my music loud?

There is no time limit when loud music can be played without the possibility of action being taken by the Council.

The law states that music must be assessed for statutory nuisance, so if it is loud and clearly audible in another person’s property or garden, then it could be considered a problem at any time of the day.

Obviously, the later at night the music can be heard, the more likely your neighbours and council officers are to consider it a nuisance.

I have a problem with neighbours playing loud music/noisy DIY/barking dogs etc. Can you do something about it?

Initially, we advise you to courteously approach the person causing you a problem. They may not realise you are being affected by their activities.

If this offers no improvement then contact us with the details as to your complaint and we will send you diary sheets for you to complete.

On return of the diary sheets to the Council, officers can assess if further action is necessary and they would then advise you accordingly.

It may be that an informal word from the Council solves the problem or it may be that further investigations and monitoring will be required to assess the potential for more action.

What if the Council has tried to investigate the noise and they cannot take any further action?

You can consider taking your own action under s82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Further advice can be obtained in our leaflet - taking your own action (pdf)

A house alarm keeps ringing in my neighbourhood. Can it be stopped?

If it is an alarm on a domestic property and you do not know who the occupier is, try and find out from any neighbours if they know of where the owner may be, or if they are likely to return shortly. Most alarms do not ring for too long before the house occupier returns.

If it appears that the occupier is not likely to return for some period, for example they may have gone away on holiday, then please contact this department on 01353 665555. Officers will then establish if the property is registered with us and, if so, key holders can be notified to come and turn it off.

If we do not hold details of the key holder then an assessment as to the occurrence or otherwise of a statutory noise nuisance must be made. If Officers feel a nuisance is being caused then notices will be served and after a specified time period, Officers will arrange for the alarm to be deactivated.

This is usually done from the external, but if the alarm cannot be deactivated from the outside (and this very occasionally happens), a warrant to enter a premises is requested from a Magistrates Court and, if successful, Officers will make the necessary arrangements to enter the property to turn off the alarm. All expenses incurred in undertaking this work is recharged to the householder.

It is important that if you have an alarm on your property you notify us on the approved form, of 2 separate key holders who can be contacted at any time to deactivate or reset the alarm for you. This could save you money in the long run.

I have a problem with noise from a bird scarer. Is there any advice please?

The Council has produced a leaflet that explains about bird scarers that can be dowloaded below:

Noise or Nuisance Complaints

To report a noise or nuisance complaint, please ensure you have read the information above and complete our online report form or phone 01353 665555.