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Noise problems

A certain amount of general living noise is acceptable in everyday life, and it isn't unreasonable to hear noise from neighbours from time to time.

But, if a noise is disturbing local residents and preventing them from enjoying their homes, it may be a problem that we need to investigate. What we can do depends on the type of noise, when it happens, and how it affects people that live nearby.

Find out about:


Solving a noise problem with a neighbour

You should try and sort out the problem with your neighbour before asking us to intervene. This could be the quickest way to resolve the noise issue and help keep a good relationship with your neighbour in the future. Our guide to solving a problem with your neighbour has lots of useful information on what you can do.

If you've tried to sort out the problem with your neighbour but it hasn't helped, you can ask us to get involved. Read our frequently asked questions about noise before you get in touch.

If you are concerned for the safety of a child or vulnerable person:
Ring Call Derbyshire on 01629 533190 or contact Derbyshire Police on 101 (24 hours per day), in an emergency call 999. Find out more about child protection and safeguarding vulnerable adults.


Noise we can investigate

We can deal with complaints about noise caused by:

  • TVs, stereos and gaming
  • DIY and car repairs
  • barking dogs, cockerels and other domestic birds and animals
  • burglar alarms and car alarms
  • licensed premises, takeaways and other businesses
  • demolition and building sites
  • factories and industrial premises
  • loudspeakers in the street

Noise we can't investigate

We can't investigate noise problems caused by:

  • aircraft - you can report issues to the Civil Aviation Authority
  • trains and railways - you can report issues to Network Rail 
  • emergency vehicles and traffic on public roads
  • roadworks and utility companies carrying out work in the street
  • people in the street, or from loud speakers used as part of a political demonstration
  • everyday activities, such as children playing in their garden, noise from a washing machine or vacuum cleaner (unless it is at an unusual time such as the early hours of the morning)

We often receive complaints about noise from people shouting, swearing, arguing and fighting. In some circumstances we may refer you to either the Police, our housing service or the community safety team.


What you need to do

You will need to give us your name and address - we can't investigate anonymous complaints. This is because we will need to visit you to see how the noise is affecting you in your home.

We may ask you to keep a noise diary for two weeks to record the type of noise, when it happens, and how long it lasts.

If we need to take the case to court we may ask you to complete a witness statement, and may use your noise diary records as evidence.


What we will do

We will look at your complaint to see if it is something we can help with. If it is we will contact the person making the noise and let them know what they need to do to sort out the problem. We won't tell them who made the complaint against them and will try to sort it out informally if we can.

If the noise problem carries on we will begin a formal investigation. We will need to visit you to witness the noise in person, and may install noise monitoring equipment at your home. We will also review your noise diary records to fully understand the problem.

We will need to decide if the noise is causing a statutory nuisance and will take into account:

  • the type of noise (such as banging, pulsing, droning) and how loud it is
  • the time of day or night that the noise occurs
  • how often the noise happens and how long it goes on for
  • the nature and character of the area (for example residential, town centre, industrial)

We can't take into account your sensitivity to noise - such as suffering tinnitus or working nights, but we may be able to give informal advice to try to find a solution.

Our investigating officers will determine how unreasonable the noise is to the average person and will make a decision based on their professional judgement and established case law.


Formal action

If we find that the noise is causing a statutory nuisance, we will serve a Noise Abatement Notice on the person responsible for the noise. This tells them what they must do to stop or reduce the noise, and when they must do it by. The person has 21 days to appeal the notice in the Magistrates' Court.

Our investigating officer will monitor the situation closely to note any change in circumstances and determine whether the terms of the notice have been complied with.

If the person causing the noise doesn't comply with the notice, we could seize equipment that is causing the noise - such as TVs, musical instruments, stereo, games consoles. We could take the case to court which could result in which could result in fines being levied against that person. 

The council can also consider noise disturbance as anti-social behaviour under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act. A ‘Community Protection Notice’ can be issued to address anti-social issues which negatively affect an individual, household or a community’s quality of life. Breaching a Community Protection Notice could result in a fixed penalty notice and a court prosecution. 

If the person causing the noise is a council tenant, they could be breaching their tenancy and risk being evicted.


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We deal with noise problems under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.


Last updated on 03 November 2020