The council can investigate and deal with some types of noise, which meets the definition for statutory nuisance.
In order to take action, the noise has to be significant enough to disturb you in your home and interfere with everyday life. The noise therefore needs to continue for a long time or happen regularly and be unreasonable. The council will not normally investigate noise which is unlikely to be defined as a statutory nuisance. Examples include:
The following types of noise from the activities described below will not be investigated as they do not constitute an actionable statutory nuisance in law:
- Noise from children playing (either inside, or in gardens, or in playgrounds)
- Babies or children crying
- Neighbours talking (either inside a property or in a garden)
- Snoring or sexual activity
- Objects being dropped
- Impact sound from footsteps, doors closing and switches operating in adjacent premises or communal areas in residential blocks
- Toilet flushing
- Washing machines, kitchen equipment and other domestic appliances operating during daytime hours (typically 0700 – 2200 hours)
- Garden equipment operating (e.g. lawn movers, leaf blowers, shredders)
- ‘One off’ party
- Engine noise from cars starting or warming up
- DIY, building or property maintenance tasks carried out during daytime hours (typically 0700 – 2200 hours)
- Traffic noise
- Aircraft noise
- Audible reversing alarms on vehicles
- Noise in the street which does not arise from a vehicle, machinery or equipment (for example, noise from people in the street does not constitute a statutory nuisance).
- Noise which arises within a premises, such as noise caused by a person living in shared accommodation and affecting a person living in the same accommodation.
- Wind chimes and hot tub equipment in a private garden
- Noise from wild animals (such as seagulls)
Speak to your neighbours first
More often than not, the person or business is not aware that they are creating a problem for others. We would encourage you to speak to your neighbour directly when problems arise. We appreciate that this is not always possible or you may have tried but the problem has continued. If you can’t resolve the matter amicably, we might be able to help.
Please note: We are unlikely to deal with a one-off situation in a formal way unless the noise is exceptionally loud and is affecting a large number of households.
The council has enforcement powers to deal with statutory noise nuisances. This can include serving a noise abatement notice on the person making the noise. If the person breaches the terms of the notice, they may be prosecuted and in some cases, equipment can be seized with a warrant from the courts.
We will need your contact details so we can visit you to prove that the noise is impacting on you, and so we can keep you updated. We will protect your identity from the person you are complaining about, unless you give us your permission to tell them who made the complaint.
What happens next?
You can let us know about the noise issue you are having at any time. If you report it outside our working hours, we will respond as soon as we can. We will ask you to provide more information so we can assess the noise and determine whether we can take any action to control the noise.
If you believe that you or someone else may be in danger please call the police immediately on 999.
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