• he neighbours may be
behaving unreasonably, for
neighbours example, playing loud music
late at night or allowing their
Noise from neighbours
dog to bark all day.
is a common source
of disturbance and it t
• he neighbours are behaving
can be very upsetting. normally, but the sound
The main problems insulation in the floors or
are caused by barking walls between you may
dogs, loud music or not be good enough to cut
out the sounds of everyday
TV, shouting, banging
doors and DIY activities.
Remember, no house or y
• ou have become over
flat is totally soundproof sensitive to the noise,
so everyone can expect particularly if you do not get
a degree of noise from on with your neighbours.
neighbours. If you are Some people tune into the
noise from next door and
being disturbed by
find it annoying while others
noise from neighbours it would not.
may be because:
2 Noisy neighbours
What can you do? Environmental Protection Act
1990 is very specific about what
Firstly, approach your neighbour
does and does not constitute a
and explain politely that you are
statutory noise nuisance. The noise
troubled by the noise. Although you
must be coming from private land
may find this difficult it is surprising
or property, or be generated by
how often neighbours are unaware
vehicles, machinery or equipment
of the disturbance they are causing.
in the street. These powers apply
Most will be glad to do what they
not only in order to control existing
can to reduce the noise.
noise but also noise that is expected
If you live in a housing association or to occur or recur. Contact details for
privately rented property it is worth making a complaint are on the back
discussing the problem with your page of this leaflet.
landlord. Most tenancy conditions
What constitutes a
include a requirement that tenants
do not cause a disturbance to statutory nuisance?
neighbours. Your landlord may be This cannot be easily defined
prepared to take action if serious but could be described as an
disturbance is being caused. unreasonable interference with the
enjoyment of your property.
If your neighbour continues to cause
It must occur regularly and continue
a disturbance you may wish to
for a period of time that makes it
complain to the council.
Making a complaint
The following are unlikely to
to the council. be a statutory nuisance:
Under Section 79 of the a
• one-off party
Environmental Protection Act
• eighbours arguing
1990, councils have powers
to deal with defined statutory a
• lawnmower used during
noise nuisances. However the the day
Noisy neighbours 3
• baby crying, children playing or The investigating officer, not the
dogs barking occasionally. complainant, makes the decision on
whether noise is a nuisance. Case
The council has no control
law requires us to act as the ‘ordinary
over the following:
reasonable person’ when reaching
• oad traffic/revving engines on
r the decision. Therefore we cannot
the public highway take into account those who have
a different or higher expectation of
• eople shouting/laughing or peace. These include shift workers or
screaming on a public road or people who are studying or ill.
• ir traffic noise
a Who will investigate my
No maximum noise limit complaint and how?
applies to noise complaints.
A named officer who is trained to
Each case must be judged
assess noise complaints and the
on its merits. We will take into
existence of a statutory nuisance will
consideration factors such as:
investigate your complaint.
• he time of the noise (noise can be
To investigate your concerns, we would
a nuisance at any time of day or
first ask that you complete diary record
sheets. The diary should be completed
• he duration of the noise
t over a period of 7 to 14 days and then
be returned to the investigating officer for
• he frequency of the noise assessment. If you experience significant
• he type of noise
t disturbance during office hours while you
are keeping the diary, you are advised
• hether there is societal
w to contact the investigating officer and
acceptance (for example bonfire it may be possible for them or another
night or church bells). member of the team to visit and witness
4 Noisy neighbours
If you are unable to complete the nuisance the investigating officer will
diary record sheets, please advise contact the perpetrator to inform
the investigating officer as soon as them of the complaint and the legal
possible. They will arrange another action available to the council should a
way for you to record the necessary statutory noise nuisance be witnessed.
Will the perpetrator
Why do I need to keep
know who made the
diary record sheets?
Diary record sheets are an important
We do not tell the perpetrator who
source of evidence. They enable
has made the complaint. However,
the investigating officer to establish
it may be necessary for you to
some basic facts about the noise,
attend subsequent court hearings,
for example, how often and when it
as a result of legal action by the
happens and how it affects you.
council in respect of a statutory
When the diary record sheets are not noise nuisance.
returned within the agreed time further
action will not be possible and the What happens after
complaint will be closed. the perpetrator is
When diary record sheets are informed of the
returned they will be assessed as to
whether the noise could be classed
as a statutory nuisance. We will contact you either in writing
or verbally to confirm that the
If the investigating officer decides that
perpetrator has been made aware of
the noise could NOT be classed as a
the complaint. We will also enclose
statutory nuisance you will be advised
diary record sheets to enable you
verbally and/or in writing.
to keep a written record of any
If your diary record sheets indicate the further noise disturbance from your
likely existence of a statutory noise
Noisy neighbours 5
What happens if the substantiated the complaint will
be closed. This decision will be
noise continues? confirmed verbally and/or in writing.
If after we have written to the You will also be advised of alternative
perpetrator you continue to be courses of action available to you.
bothered by noise please advise
the investigating officer as soon as What if the noise
possible. The investigating officer will continues after the
then arrange noise monitoring visits.
notice has been
What happens if the served?
noise is a statutory If you are still bothered by noise
nuisance? following the service of a Noise
Abatement Notice you must notify the
If a statutory nuisance is proven to
investigating officer. They will arrange
exist the perpetrator will be served
further noise monitoring and ask you
with a Noise Abatement Notice under
to continue keeping a written record
Section 80 of the Environmental
of any excessive noise.
Protection Act 1990.
If the investigations prove that the
If the perpetrator does not agree with
Noise Abatement Notice has been
the notice and chooses to appeal
breached the investigating officer
then you and other witnesses may
can apply to the Magistrates’
be required to give evidence in the
Court for a warrant. This will
enable access to the perpetrator’s
What if the noise premises to seize and detain
any equipment used to cause a
is not a statutory statutory noise nuisance. This can
nuisance? include stereos, TVs or CDs etc.
If after a thorough investigation The officer will send evidence
no statutory noise nuisance is of the breach of the Abatement
6 Noisy neighbours
Notice to the Head of Legal Services
requesting legal action against the
Any equipment seized can be
held by the council until the court
hearing. The council can request
that the equipment is not returned
to the perpetrator. This decision
will be made by the Magistrates.
People found guilty of breaching an
Abatement Notice can be fined up to
At all times during the investigation,
the investigating officer will keep you
informed of any significant action
taken in relation to your complaint.
Noisy neighbours 7
You can make a
letter or in person to
If the case is an
There is an out of hours service to give RG21 4AH
advice and assistance on emergency telephone
environmental health issues during times 01256 844844
when the council offices are closed, such
as Bank Holidays, including Christmas
Day. Please note that this service is
intended for genuine emergencies only
(for example house/car alarms) otherwise email
please wait and contact us during normal firstname.lastname@example.org
working hours when we have access
to more resources. You can contact
us outside normal hours by calling our
normal office number
Your call will be connected to the out of
hours contact centre who will be able to
give you advice and assistance. In most
cases this should deal with your concern
but, if it is judged necessary, an officer
may visit you.