Noise is a category of statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 which we can investigate.
We will always try and resolve the problem informally at first, but if this approach fails we can serve an abatement notice on the person/s responsible. Breach of an abatement notice is a criminal offence carrying fines of up to £20,000 for commercial premises and up to £5,000 for residential premises.
Many factors are considered when determining whether a statutory nuisance exists, including time of day, frequency of events and their duration. We will normally require evidence in the form of diary sheets when considering formal action.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no decibel level above which noise is a nuisance, or time of day when noise is permitted. It is the impact on the normal enjoyment of residents' homes that counts and in most cases we will simply listen to the noise at the affected property, or install recording equipment when gathering evidence.
Types of noise we can deal with:
- Noisy neighbours
- Loud music
- Barking dogs
- Construction sites
- Burglar and car alarms
- Pubs and nightclubs
- Industrial and commercial noise, e.g. a restaurant kitchen extract.
Types of noise we can't deal with:
- Road traffic
- Young children playing
- Normal living noise
- Noise caused by poor sound insulation (if the person/s is behaving reasonably)
- Emergency road works at nigh carried out by utility companies
Parties, music, DIY and other domestic noise
Most households produce noise from time to time. We can investigate many types of domestic noise if unreasonable. Key considerations are time of day, frequency and duration. The following guidance outlines what is considered acceptable:
Both house and vehicle alarms can cause a nuisance if they sound for prolonged periods or intermittently over a period of time. Ensure they cut-out within 20 minutes and we have a record of keyholders' details (see below) in case of problems when you're away.
Many dogs bark occasionally, but persistent barking can cause a nuisance. The following guidance is for owners:
Construction sites and roadworks
Noise from construction sites is inevitable and can be disturbing if the development takes place over a long period. The usual means of controlling the noise is through restriction of the operating hours.
Noise from road works, particularly emergency works at night, is usually caused by statutory undertakers such as utility companies who are exempt from the nuisance legislation. The following guidance provides additional information:
Regulations restricting the use of fireworks came into effect in 2004, breaches of which are enforced by the police.