Typical noise complaints include:
- Loud music
- Barking dogs
- Vehicle or burglar alarms
- Factory or construction noise
What we can do
- Advise on noise problems
- Help to resolve noise problems
- Take legal action where a statutory nuisance is found.
What is a statutory nuisance?
For noise to be a statutory nuisance it must be:
- Excessive and unreasonable
- Interfere with a person's normal life.
For us to be able to act on a statutory nuisance:
- There must be sufficient evidence (much of it from you).
- A notice must be served requiring the noise nuisance to be abated (reduced).
- If the notice is ignored, it could lead to prosecution and/or seizure of equipment.
Please remember: you may have to appear in court as a witness.
Before making a formal complaint, we advise that you approach the person making the noise, especially if it is a neighbour.
- Don’t wait until the problem makes you angry.
- See your neighbour and talk about how the problem is affecting you.
- Don’t be aggressive. This will only make matters worse.
- Try to keep your discussion to the particular problem of the noise.
- Explain how the noise makes you feel. Do not blame or accuse. Your neighbour may not be aware how much their behaviour is affecting you.
- Above all stay calm and be polite.
We will respond to all complaints about noise, but we can only take formal action where we are satisfied that there is evidence of a statutory nuisance, (and we are not excluded by law from acting). For advice on resolving neighbour disputes, please visit the Government website.
How to report noise nuisance
To report initial noise complaints, call 01442 228000 and ask for Environmental and Community Protection. When you first contact us we will discuss your problem with you and give you advice on what action you can take.
We log all complaints and give them a reference number. After you have contacted us, we will review your complaint within three days and either contact you directly, or write to you. Where appropriate, we will send you a noise pack and diary sheets to record any incidents. Alternatively, you can download our noise nuisance pack (PDF 147KB). When we receive your completed diary sheets, we will write to the person you are complaining about to inform them that we have received a complaint, and give them the opportunity to respond to us. We do this to be fair to everyone and because it often solves the problem.
At the same time we will ask you to continue to keep diary records to substantiate your complaint and return them to us. Use the diary sheets to record any noise incidents. This evidence may be used in court. We will not at this stage reveal your name. However, sometimes it will be obvious and if we do have to go to court then your name will be revealed. (We have to prove nuisance to someone).
If we are satisfied that there is a statutory nuisance we will serve a notice requiring that the nuisance stop. This is known as an Abatement Notice. If the problem goes on, we can potentially take action through the magistrates' court. We usually require you to attend as a witness. In certain really serious cases, whether or not we prosecute, we can act by seizing or disabling the equipment.
If, despite prosecution, the problem goes on, we may have to return to court. As long as the problem continues it is vital that you keep making diary records.
It is important that you keep an accurate record of any incidents when noise becomes a nuisance to you. This will be your evidence, which we must use if any legal action is taken.
To ensure information is recorded accurately, we will require you to keep a diary record in a prescribed format. You can download the noise nuisance diary sheets (PDF 147KB) or we will supply you with them via email or post.
Full instructions on how to complete the diary sheets are included in our noise nuisance pack (PDF 147 KB). Without this diary record we may not be able to help you. The diary sheets should be sent to us via post or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The information will be used to assess the problem and to take any further action that may be necessary.