Frequently asked questions about noise

Frequently asked questions about noise

We receive hundreds of noise complaints each year.

Here are some of the most common questions we get asked.

Common questions about noise problems Expand all

We can deal with many types of general noise that are disturbing people nearby and affecting how they enjoy their homes. Find out more here.

We can't investigate anonymous complaints, one-off events and certain types of outdoor or everyday noise - see details here.

The first thing you should do is let you neighbour know there is a problem. 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 contact us for advice.

If we are not able to take any action you could take your own private action.

We need to assess the nature and level of the noise problem being complained about. This is done by talking to you and reading the information that you supply on noise record sheets.

Officers are not always available to respond immediately to complaints, and need to programme monitoring into their work schedule.  

Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 we are unable to carry out ‘covert surveillance’. When we receive a complaint we have to contact the people causing the noise to give them the opportunity to resolve the problem informally.

We do not operate an out of hours noise service. However our officers can make pre-arranged visits out of hours to investigate ongoing noise complaints.

Any calls received out of hours will be normally dealt with by an officer the next working day.

If it is a problem we can investigate, we may ask you to complete a noise diary. We may also arrange to visit your home to see how the problem is affecting you.

We will try to deal with the problem informally, but can take formal action if necessary.

Find out how we deal with noise complaints.

We can't investigate anonymous complaints because we need information from you to enable the investigation to be carried out. We have to look at how often the noise occurs and how it affects you. 

We will not give your details to the person or business you are complaining about. 

Yes, under the Data Protection Act 1998 we have to keep your details confidential.

We won't give your name and address to the person or business that you have complained about. However, your neighbour may guess who has complained.

If a case leads to prosecution you may be asked to give evidence in court, and if you have completed diary sheets and a witness statement these may be submitted as evidence.

Record sheets are used to collect evidence of what is happening and when. It is important that you record the times and dates that you are being disturbed by the noise as we need this information to help us decide how best to investigate your complaint.

They can help us find out the best time to visit to witness the problem for ourselves.

Diary record sheets can also be used as evidence of an ongoing problem if we need to take formal action.

We try to deal with noise problems as informally as possible.

But, where necessary, we will issue a Noise Abatement Notice to the person causing the problem telling them what they have to do to stop or reduce the noise, and by when.

If they don't comply with the notice we may take action against them - which could involve seizing equipment or taking a case to court which could result in a fine.

Find out more about formal action we can take

Court cases are very rare as we try and resolve the complaint informally, however, each case is taken on its own merits.

Your completed record sheets and a signed witness statement will form part of the prosecution files and this is usually sufficient. Without this information we are unable to proceed to a prosecution.

If the person responsible for the noise is a council tenant we will inform our housing team as any statutory noise nuisance could be a breach of the person's tenancy conditions.

The housing team will take their own action alongside any action taken by us and, in extreme cases, tenants could be evicted from their homes.

Setting off fireworks is restricted to certain times of day, apart from on special festivals. Find out about fireworks rules.

We could take action if a burglar alarm is causing a nuisance, for example if it is regularly activated or is left ringing for a long time.

Find out about intruder alarms here.

If we receive a noise complaint about you, and our officers agree that there is a problem, we will let you know. They will tell you what the problem is and let you know what to do to put it right.

Contact us as soon as you can if you want to discuss the noise complaint, or if you need help and guidance. We prefer to sort out complaints informally and will work with you to find a solution.

Don't just ignore the complaint as you may be served with a Noise Abatement Notice, which could lead to legal action if you don't comply.

Find out how we deal with noise complaints.


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Last updated on 23/11/2023