Report a noise nuisance
What is a noise nuisance?
No home is soundproof, and it is normal for you and your neighbours to hear each other. It is only when a noise goes beyond what is ‘normal’ that it becomes a nuisance.
Noise nuisance is broadly defined as excessive noise that causes stops your normal "quiet enjoyment" of your property. This is known as a ‘statutory nuisance’.
Under Section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, we have the power to deal with a noise nuisance which is persistent and unreasonable. The level of noise, its timing and how long it lasts may be taken into consideration when deciding whether a nuisance has occurred.
In most cases, we will only investigate noises coming from private land or property, but there are some exceptions. One example is a car alarm from a car parked in the road.
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 extractor
Noises that are unlikely to be a statutory nuisance:
- Normal living noise
- Noise caused by poor sound insulation (if the person/s is behaving responsibly)
- A one-off party
Noises that we have no power to deal with:
- Road traffic/engine noise on the public highway
- People shouting, laughing or screaming on a public road or footpath
- Air traffic noise
- Emergency roadworks at night carried out by utility companies
- Young children playing
The law does not specify a maximum noise level (decibel level) that is considered a nuisance. Each case is judged on what might be reasonable and normal for the situation.
We take into consideration factors such as:
- when the noise is happening (noise can be a nuisance at any time of the day or night)
- duration of the noise
- how often it is happening
- type of noise
- the volume of the noise
- there is social acceptance (for example, bonfire night or church bells)
Page last reviewed: 5 October 2020