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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Colchester Borough Council is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to take action to minimise disruption and keep residents and visitors safe. 

Coronavirus: updates, advice and guidance

Noise Nuisance

Information about noise nuisance and what we can help you with


  • Types of noise we can deal with
  • Types of noise we can't deal with
  • Specific guidelines
  • We can investigate noise as a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
  • We will try to resolve the problem informally, but can serve an abatement notice, breach of which is a criminal offence carrying unlimited fines.
  • When determining nuisance factors such as time of day, frequency and duration of events are considered.
  • We normally require diary sheet evidence when considering formal action.
  • There is no decibel level above which noise is a nuisance, or time of day.
  • It is the impact on the normal enjoyment of residents’ homes that is assessed, either in person or with recording equipment.

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

Types of noise we can't deal with:

  • Road traffic
  • Young children playing
  • Normal living noise 
  • Noise caused by poor sound insulation (if the person/s is behaving responsibly)
  • Emergency roadworks at night carried out by utility companies
Specific Guidelines
Parties, music, DIY and other domestic noise
  • We can investigate many types of domestic noise.
  • Key considerations are time of day, frequency and duration.
  • The following guidance outlines what is acceptable:

Noise from your neighbours

Noise from parties

Good neighbour guide


Ensure they cut-out within 20 minutes and we have a record of keyholders' details in case of problems when you're away (see below):

Audible intruder alarms

Alarm key holder registration form

Barking dogs

Persistent barking can be a nuisance. The following guidance is for owners:

Constant barking can be avoided


  • Noise from seagulls can cause a nuisance.
  • Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1991 it is an offence to kill or injure any wild bird or harm their nests or eggs unless acting under license.
  • Noise or other nuisance are not reasons under the Act.
  • The following guidance provides additional information:

Guidance on seagulls

Construction sites and roadworks

  • Noise from construction sites can be disturbing if taking place over a long period
  • The usual means of control is by restricting hours.
  • Noise from roadworks, particularly at night, is usually caused by statutory undertakers who are exempt from nuisance legislation.
  • The following guidance provides additional information:

Noise from construction sites

Noise from roadworks


  • Regulations restricting the use of fireworks came into force in 2004.
  • Breaches are enforced the police.

Noise from fireworks

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