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What can I do about loud noise from my neighbouring property?

If you're being affected by persistent noise from a neighbouring property you can report it by filling in a nuisance report form.

Report form can be accessed on our Noise and other nuisances page.

Please read the following information about statutory nuisance:

Statutory nuisance is defined by the Environmental Protection Act 1990. In the UK there is no absolute right to silence within your home.  Therefore, although you may be unhappy with the level of noise you are exposed to, if it does not amount to a statutory nuisance you may have to put up with it.

A statutory noise nuisance is more than where the noise is just annoying, it needs to unreasonably interfere with the use or enjoyment of another property, the problem must occur regularly and continue for a period of time that makes it unreasonable.

There's nothing in the legislation that says that a certain type, volume or time of noise will amount to a statutory nuisance - each case is considered on its own merits.  Many factors are taken into account in determining if the noise amounts to a statutory nuisance, including:

Location. Is the noise typical for the area? A cockerel crowing in the countryside would be more accepted than that in a quiet residential estate.

Time of day. A statutory nuisance can exist at anytime of the day, however if the noise happens late at night when most people are sleeping, it's more likely to be classed as a statutory nuisance than the same noise occurring during the day.

Frequency. How frequently are people being affected by the noise?  Noisy parties every weekend would be viewed differently to one held occasionally.

Duration. How long does the disturbance last?  A dog barking at the postman for a short while in the morning would be viewed differently to one barking most of the day.

Intensity. How loud is the noise?  How intrusive?  In determining nuisance we look at how the noise would affect an ordinary individual, not someone who has a particular sensitivity to the noise complained of.

The Environmental Health team investigate noise complaints and they use their professional knowledge and experience to assess whether the noise complained of amounts to a statutory nuisance.  It is the professional officer, rather than the complainant, who makes the decision on whether noise is a nuisance.  Ultimately it is that officer who will have to stand up in court and defend their decision.  Case law requires us to act as the "standard person" when reaching the decision.  Therefore we cannot take into account those who have a different or higher expectation of peace (e.g. shift workers, people who are studying or people who are ill).

We need to gather evidence of the noise and its effects on complainants and you will be expected to keep records of the noise.  These may be used as evidence in court to support our case.  If and when the noise has been determined to amount to a statutory nuisance an abatement notice will be served.  This will require the nuisance to be abated.  Failure to comply with an abatement notice is a criminal offence.

Noise we can't assist with

There are certain noise sources that can be easily dealt with through noise law, but there are some that can't.  The following noise we will not be able to help with:

  • Normal sounds of living e.g. footsteps, closing doors, talking, toilet flushing, using household appliances during the day etc.

  • Traffic / train noise from a road / railway (including essential works and maintenance)

  • Babies crying or young children playing

  • Normal daytime noise affecting shift workers trying to sleep

 

More information can be found here.