Noise

Typical noise complaints include:

  • Loud music
  • Barking dogs
  • Vehicle or burglar alarms
  • Factory or construction noise
  • Aircraft
  • DIY
  • Roadworks

What we can do

  • Offer advice on noise problems
  • Help to resolve noise problems
  • Take legal action where there is a statutory nuisance.

What we can't do

We are unable to take action in relation to general living noise during reasonable hours, such as:

  • footsteps 
  • flushing the toilet 
  • household appliances such as washing machines and vacuum cleaners
  • moving furniture 
  • general talking 
  • children playing or crying 
  • slamming doors
  • shouting

We assess noise nuisance from the viewpoint of 'the average person'. We are not always able to help those who are:

  • affected by noise due to personal sensitivity or a medical condition - for example, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or anxiety
  • have requirements considered to be a lifestyle choice or not typical of ‘the average person’ - for example, shift workers trying to sleep during the day or those that have an expectation of silence while living in a residential community
  • are suffering noise issues due to a lack of appropriate insulation - this is a matter for the homeowner/landlord to address.

Please contact us if you unsure whether we can help.

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 enough evidence (much of it from you)
  • A notice must be served requiring the noise nuisance to stop
  • If the notice is ignored, it could lead to prosecution and/or seizure of equipment.

Please note: you may have to appear in court as a witness.

First steps

Before making a formal complaint, we advise 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 there is evidence of a statutory nuisance. For advice on resolving neighbour disputes, please visit the Government website.

How to report noise nuisance

To report initial noise complaints, please fill out our online form:

Report noise nuisance

You can also call Customer Services on 01442 228000. When you first contact us we will discuss your problem with you and give you advice on what action you can take.

Next steps

We log all complaints and, where appropriate, we'll send you a noise pack and diary sheets to record any incidents. You can also download the  noise nuisance pack (PDF 147KB). There are full instructions on how to complete the diary sheets.

Send your diary sheets to us via email to ecp@dacorum.gov.uk or by post to: Dacorum Borough Council, Environmental and Community Protection, The Forum, Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP1 1DN

When we receive your completed diary sheets we will give your case a reference number. We may also write to the person you are complaining about, informing them of your complaint. This will give them the opportunity to respond to us. We do this to be fair to everyone and because it often solves the problem.

We will also ask you to continue to keep diary records and return them to us. Use the diary sheets to record any noise incidents. This evidence may be used in court, so they must be an accurate representation of your experiences. We will not at this stage reveal your name. Sometimes it will be obvious, and if we do have to go to court then your name will be revealed.

If we decide there is a statutory nuisance we will serve a notice - known as an Abatement Notice - requiring the nuisance stop. If the problem goes on, we can take action through the magistrates' court. We usually need you to attend as a witness. In some serious cases, 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.

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Page Last Updated: Thursday, 11 April 2024 at 08:11 AM