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Noise from a domestic house

Many people do not realise the effect their enjoyment of loud music or other noise activities may have on their neighbours. They could well act in a more considerate way if the facts are politely brought to their attention.

A noise nuisance would be a significant and unreasonable emission of noise that affected you in a significant and unreasonable way. It is more than annoyance and much more than the mere detection of noise.  

Many other factors determine whether or not a noise is a statutory nuisance and these can be: 

  1. The time of day 
  2. Your location e.g. urban/rural 
  3. The duration of the noise 
  4. The volume of the noise 
  5. The character of the noise 

 

Informal Action  

Rather than resort to the law, you may wish to try the following in order to get on with your neighbours:  

  1. Discuss and resolve the matter directly with the person responsible for the noise 
  2. Use a mediation service.    

 

How do I make a complaint?

For the Council to take legal action on anyone's behalf, it must be satisfied that a 'statutory nuisance' exists and that evidence (suitable for a Court) has been gathered to support the case. In most cases, the following procedure will be followed:  

If the noise nuisance persists and your informal request has failed to resolve the matter you can report the matter to the Council's Environmental Health Team. Complaints can be made in writing, by telephone, or using the form on this page. The following information will be required so that the matter can be investigated.  Annonymouse complaints will not be investigated:

  • Your name, address and contact telephone number; (and email address if applicable)
  • the name of the person causing the noise and/or address if the source of the problem and;
  • details concerning the type of noise, the pattern and history of the problem
  1. An informal letter will be sent to the person complained of to inform them of the problem. At this stage, details of the complainant are kept confidential. 
  2. You will be asked to keep a diary, detailing when the noise occurs and how the noise affects you. A Monitoring form is available for you to complete. Select the monitoring form icon in the related documents section.
  3. Noise monitoring equipment may be installed in your premises if the diary indicates a nuisance exists.
  4. A Council Officer may visit when the noise occurs to make an assessment  
  5. If a statutory nuisance is found to exist, an 'Abatement Notice' will be served to prohibit or restrict the noise.
  6. If the noise continues, you will be asked to maintain a nuisance diary and an Officer will make another visit when the noise is alleged to occur.
  7. In some cases the Council may obtain a warrant to enter premises and seize nuisance-making equipment.
  8. The final option is for the Council to take the 'offender' to a Magistrate's Court where a fine may be imposed and their equipment forfeited.    

 

Taking your own legal action

Some noise may be intermittent and unpredictable. If it is not possible for a Council Officer to witness the noise, then it is unlikely that the Council will be able to take legal action. Therefore, section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 allows you to take you own action against a person causing an alleged nuisance, however you are advised to seek professional advice from your own solicitor.