Noise nuisance investigation procedure

Making a complaint

Many people do not realise that they may be causing a noise nuisance. Before you make a complaint we recommend that you try to talk to the person and politely tell them about the problem.

If you live in a Housing Association or rented property, it is worth discussing your problem with your landlord. Most Conditions of Tenancy include a requirement that tenants do not cause disturbance to neighbours; a Housing Association may be prepared to take action if serious disturbance is being caused.

If your neighbour continues to cause a disturbance, you can give us full details of your complaint on the:

Pollution control problem report now.

To write or speak to someone about your problem use the contact details below.

What we will do

In response to your complaint an officer from the Environmental Services Section will usually wish to discuss your complaint with you before taking action. You can normally expect an initial visit or telephone call within one working day, depending on the urgency of the complaint. All complaints will receive attention within three working days.

Where action is the responsibility of another agency your complaint will be referred to the appropriate authority and you will be advised accordingly, for example if the complaint is about aircraft noise we will refer it to the Military or Civil Aviation bodies.

Where necessary, we may have to come out to listen to the noise first.

If we can investigate your complaint we will contact the person you have complained about, often via letter. This will inform them that a complaint has been made, and ask them to consider ways to prevent their actions from being a nuisance.

At the same time we will send out to you a diary sheet if for you to fill in if the nuisance continues. You would need to fill these in for a period of 21 days to give us evidence of the alleged nuisance.

Download the Diary Sheet for Odour, Noise, Smoke or Light Complaints (PDF: 117Kb / 1 page).

If the noise continues an officer will normally make three or more visits to assess the extent of the disturbance and to see whether, in his/her judgement, the noise represents a statutory nuisance. Noise recording equipment may also be installed into your property so we can hear the offending noise, which may be used as evidence at a later stage. It may also be necessary for an officer to witness the noise before formal action can be taken.

If the noise occurs outside normal office hours visits will be made at times when the noise is likely to occur, or alternatively noise recording equipment may be brought to your house.

If the officer is satisfied that a statutory nuisance exists a Noise Abatement Notice will be served on the person(s) causing the problem. Where work is required to meet the terms of the notice a period of time will be given to allow work to be carried out. Failure to comply with the notice is a criminal offence and the persons can be prosecuted. If the notice specifies the carrying out of work and this is not done, we may decide to do it itself and recover the costs from the persons(s) responsible.

There are some occasions where the we are unable to take action, particularly where the noise occurs intermittently and is not judged to be a statutory nuisance. If the we decide that formal action cannot be taken you will be informed and given advice about taking action yourself if you wish to do so

Find our more about taking your own private action.

Last updated: Thursday, 13 May, 2021.