Noise and nuisance guidance

Noise is an inevitable part of everyday life, however, it is possible for certain types of noise to become a statutory nuisance.

When noise becomes a statutory nuisance

For noise to become a statutory nuisance it has to be much more than just something which is annoying. It has to be regarded as having an unreasonable effect on a person's enjoyment of their property.

To assess whether noise is a statutory nuisance we would consider:

  • what the noise is;
  • how often the noise occurs;
  • how loud the noise is;
  • what time of day/night the noise occurs;
  • how it is affecting the person complaining about the noise.

At what time can noise cause a statutory nuisance?

A noise can be a statutory nuisance at any time of the day or night! There are no set times laid down by law. It really is a question of what is 'reasonable' behaviour. As a general rule, noise at night is more disturbing and more likely to be a nuisance than daytime noise.

See what is a statutory nuisance for further information.

How loud does a noise have to be before I can make a complaint about it?

Once again, no legal limits have been set. Everything depends upon the circumstances of the individual case. When investigating noise complaints, some of the things taken into account include the location of the noise, the times when the noise occurs, the noise level, how often it occurs, and how it affects the person complaining.

Reporting a noise complaint

Report a noise problem online.

or contact the Environmental Protection Team.

How do you investigate noise complaints?

See our Statutory Nuisance Investigation Procedure to find out how we investigate noise complaints.

Advice for anyone holding an outdoor event with music

To help minimise the noise disturbance to neighbours and the local community from events involving music held outdoors, or in a marquee, we have compiled some Guidance for Organisers (PDF: 101Kb/ 2 pages).

Last updated: Wednesday, 10 March, 2021.