Throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak Chesterfield Borough Council has been responding to new requirements and updating the services provided in line with the latest Government guidance.
All of the latest service-related updates can be found in the dedicated coronavirus information hub.
As more of us are spending extended time at home during the Coronavirus pandemic due to the social distancing measures put in place by the Government, we may become more aware of noise from our neighbours.
Whilst the council can continue to take action against those who repeatedly make unreasonable noise that impacts on their neighbour’s enjoyment of their homes, there will be some day to day noise that is heard where people live in close proximity to one another.
Councillor Chris Ludlow, cabinet member for housing, said: “The restrictions in place are essential to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), protect our health and save lives. However, that means we will probably be hearing more noise from our neighbours than we are used to. In some situations, this may lead to frustration or annoyance.
“We appreciate that everyone will be experiencing difficulties due to the current restrictions, but we are urging everyone to be considerate of their neighbours by thinking about how noise from your home could be causing problems and upset to others.
“We also urge everyone to be more tolerant and patient with noise and activity that they won't be used to hearing. There is a real need to show some good will at this time.”
Below is some specific advice on how you can help reduce noise in your home:
Everyday activities around the home generate some level of noise, for example; your washing machine, doors closing, or the TV. However, disputes can occur when people are inconsiderate to others in how much noise they create, so it is important to acknowledge the noise your household creates and think about the impact it might have on your neighbours.
Consider the lifestyle of your neighbours; for example, are they retired, or do they have young children? Be mindful of the effects noise from your property may have on them.
If you are contacted by a neighbour and asked to keep your noise down, try to react positively and respect their right to enjoy their home. Keep in mind the social distancing guidelines when talking to your neighbours.
These are the most frequent causes for complaint. What is considered entertainment for one person may not be for someone else. Avoid playing music too loudly and try to position any speakers away from adjoining walls, floors and ceilings. Standing them on an insulating material can also reduce the transmission of sound.
Loud music in the garden is more likely to cause a problem to your neighbours - try and keep it at or below conversation level or wear headphones.
It is a common misunderstanding that anyone is allowed to play their music as much and as loudly as they like up to 11pm. This is wrong, so don't make that mistake. Noise nuisance can be caused at any time of day or night.
If you are playing a musical instrument, try to keep this to short periods and at reasonable times. If you can, do it in a room furthest away from your neighbour. If you are a neighbour who can hear someone practicing, then please be prepared to be patient.
The current Government social distancing measures mean that you should not be socialising with anyone who does not live within your household. This includes in outdoor areas such as parks and open spaces or gardens. Any complaint concerning noise from a party or a social gathering will be investigated, as this may not only amount to a noise disturbance, but also constitute a breach of the Government’s social distancing requirements.
Given the circumstances, you may be tempted to have 'online' parties in your home. If you do, please keep the volume down, or use headphones where possible. Avoid any loud, late night online parties and remember that homes are not the place to replicate a pub or night club environment. If someone complains, you are probably disturbing quite a few others too.
- Banging doors and stamping feet
Sound can travel easily through walls and floors, so be aware of what is next door. Avoid slamming doors and running up or down stairs, especially if you live in a flat or terraced house. Try to shut doors gently and use the handle - don't push it closed.
If you have laminate or wood flooring, consider the use of rugs in areas with high footfall or where children play.
There are practical steps dog owners can take to minimise dog barking and prevent noise nuisance.
The Government has extended delivery hours to include night time deliveries for supermarkets and other food retailers. Please be aware that there may be some noise disruption as a result.
Some people may choose to complete DIY projects whilst they are at home. Whilst you may enjoy putting your time at home to good use, your neighbours will not enjoy long periods of drilling, sawing or hammering and the impact it could have on them could be greater than you think.
If you can, whilst maintaining a social distance, contact your neighbours and make them aware of the works you want to do and any parts of it that might be noisy. Most people will be understanding and accommodating, but you should be prepared to compromise if there are times of the day that your neighbour asks you to avoid for a genuine reason.
Unless it's an emergency, please don’t do this sort of work in the evening or early in the morning, particularly at the weekend.
Work on a construction site near your home would routinely be finished for the day when you return home from work, but now you are home during the day you might hear the work taking place on the site. Construction work is noisy, but as long as the site is managed well, noise generating work should be kept to between the hours of 8am and 6pm on Mondays to Fridays and from 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. If noise generating work is being carried on outside of these hours, then the construction workers may be in breach of the site’s planning conditions.
How we can help
The council will continue to deliver a noise service. You can still call report ongoing noise by calling 01246 345345.
In most instances you will be offered advice over the phone, and we will endeavour to resolve the problem by initially contacting the person who is allegedly causing the noise in writing. We will also, where appropriate, ask you to complete record sheets to give us a better picture about the frequency and duration of the noise you are experiencing.
You can also use our online web reporting form.
If you are a council tenant, or if you are being affected by the actions of someone that is a council tenant, you can contact our tenancy management team on 01246 345071 / 01246 345354 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay up to date with all the latest information about Coronavirus and service updates on our dedicated Coronavirus information hub.