What will the council do about a noise complaint?
A council officer will contact you to discuss the problem. The officer will explain how your complaint will be investigated and the options that may be available to solve the problem.
The officer may visit your property to witness the noise you're complaining about. In order to schedule visits at the times that the noise is most likely to be happening, you may be asked to complete a log sheet, noting when the noise occurs. The officer may also install noise recording equipment at your property as part of the investigation. We may need to hear the noise a number of times to establish if a nuisance exists.
We won't tell anyone who made the complaint. However, when an investigation starts the person making the noise may guess who complained, and you should be prepared for this.
The officer will look at all the evidence and decide whether the noise satisfies the legal definition of a statutory nuisance. If so, the person responsible for the noise will be served with an Abatement Notice under Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This notice can request that the noise be reduced or stopped, we may ask for work to be carried out to reduce noise pollution. The person will be allowed a reasonable amount of time to comply, and someone who is served with an Abatement Notice may appeal to the Magistrates Court.
If they don't comply with a Notice, they have committed an offence and may be prosecuted. Witnesses are needed for prosecution to take place and the complainants may be asked to appear in court. We can't make a witness appear in court but it may be difficult to mount a successful case without the complainant being present.
If we can't find enough evidence of the noise to take action, you can take private action under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Council officers will be able to provide advice on this.
How can you avoid causing a noise nuisance?
Council officers can give specific advice on how not to cause a nuisance to your neighbours. Some examples are:
- Don't put speakers on the walls
- Make sure you can hear the doorbell over the music or TV
- Keep volume levels low late at night
- Let your neighbours know if you're having a party
- Don't leave your dog on its own for long periods of time
- If your dog is barking, see why and quieten it
- Don't use your washing machine or tumble dryer late at night