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Types of noise nuisance

These are some examples of noises that may be considered a statutory nuisance.

Air conditioning and refrigeration unit

When someone wants to put up an air conditioning unit they usually require planning permission. Planning conditions should prevent a noise nuisance.

However, over time, if they are not properly maintained, air conditioning units can rattle and hum making more noise and vibration than normal.

For further information contact Environmental Protection Team.

Aircraft noise

Aircraft noise can be very intrusive at times but unfortunately the Environmental Protection Team cannot deal with this type of noise.

If you are complaining about military aircraft noise, you will need to contact the Ministry of Defence.?We are aware that some parts of the district are covered by local agreements.

Please give as many details as possible to aid identification of the offending aircraft.

For further information:

  • Contact: Ministry of Defence Low Flying Complaints and Enquiries Unit
  • Email: cas-lowfying@mod.uk
  • Telephone: 0845 600 7580 Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm (excluding bank holidays)
  • Address: Low Flying Complaints and Enquiries Unit, RAF Wittering, Peterborough PE8 6H

Alarms

Alarms can protect properties against burglars, but they can also cause a noise nuisance to neighbours.

You are responsible for any alarm on your property. If it accidentally sounds continuously for 20 minutes or intermittently for more than an hour, and is judged to be giving reasonable cause for annoyance?you could be liable for costs incurred by the council if the alarm has to be disabled.

How to prevent your alarm becoming a noise nuisance:

  1. Make sure you install a good quality alarm that complies with British Standard BS4737
  2. Have the alarm serviced regularly
  3. Fit a 20 minute cut off device to your system so that the alarm will sound for a maximum of 20 minutes and doesn't re-sound
  4. Ensure sensors cannot be triggered accidentally, for example make sure windows are closed and pets are not left in rooms where the alarm could be triggered.

What will we do if we receive a complaint?

Initially, an Environmental Protection Officer, will try to find out and contact the owner or the occupier for the premises where the alarm is sounding. However, if this fails and the alarm continues we will try to switch off the alarm without gaining access to the inside of the property.

If this is not possible, we will serve a noise abatement notice and obtain a warrant from magistrates to enter the property and silence the alarm. Any costs for these works and officer's time will be invoiced to the property owner (this could amount to several hundred pounds).

For further information contact Environmental Protection Team.

Barking dogs

Dog barking can be a serious annoyance if it happens regularly or for prolonged periods of time.

If you are the owner of a dog that constantly barks you need to take steps to prevent such barking; failure to do so could result in legal action being taken against you.

The following guidance provides practical advice on how to stop your dog from barking - Dog Barking: Problems and Simple Solutions.

If you feel you would benefit from further advice, a visit from our Community Wardens can also be arranged.

For further information please contact the Environmental Protection Team

If you are concerned that the dog is barking due to it suffering or you are worried about its welfare, please see contact details below:

  • Contact: RSCPA
  • Telephone: 0300 1234 999
  • Address: RSPCA Advice Team, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9RS
  • Website: www.rspca.org.uk

Bird scarer

We can only take action if the farmer is not complying with the National Farmer's Union (NFU) Code of Practice for the use of Bird Scarers.

The main points of the Code of Practice are:

  • Place the scarer as far away from residential properties as possible and align them to point away from neighbours.
  • Use reflective or absorbent baffles (for example straw bales) to concentrate the sound onto the field and away from neighbouring properties
  • Avoid using auditory scarers within 200m (220yards) of sensitive buildings before 7am (or 6am if sunrise is earlier)
  • Take note of the prevailing wind when siting scarers.
  • Do not fire auditory scarers more than four times in any hour (remember to consider situations where several guns protect a single field)
  • Never use auditory scarers before sunrise or after sunset
  • Try not to use auditory scarers on a Sunday

For further information contact Environmental Protection Team.

Cockerels and poultry

Complaints of nuisance from cockerels crowing are on the increase, particularly if they are being kept in built up areas in close proximity to neighbours.

In practice, the crowing would have to be excessive and unreasonable in the circumstances and significantly interfere with the use and enjoyment of someone's home. For example:

  • crowing for prolonged periods
  • frequent excessive crowing
  • crowing at unreasonable hours, that is early morning or late at night.

Advice to prevent a noise nuisance

  • Only have a cockerel if you are breeding chickens; you do not need a cockerel in order for your chickens to lay eggs or to prevent feather plucking.
  • We recommend that chickens are not bred in residential areas
  • Keeping more than one cockerel in an area can lead to competitive crowing, particularly in the breeding season.
  • Locate your poultry as far as practicable from neighbouring residential properties.
  • Shut birds away at dusk and do not let them out until a reasonable hour in the morning.
  • Cockerels tend to crow from first light so provide birds with a house where light is eliminated from entering as far as possible; however remember that ventilation will still be required.
  • Try putting a shelf in the hen house that allows the cockerel to walk around at normal height but prevents it stretching its neck to make the crowing sound.

For further information contact Environmental Protection Team.

Construction sites

The activities on construction sites are assessed by us to minimise pollution caused by noise, dust and other concerns. Some activities can cause a statutory nuisance.

Building and demolition can be very noisy, but at times the work is often necessary and for a limited time only.

If you wish to complain about noise from building and demolition sites, please let us know the following:

  • Does noisy work start on site before 8am or continue after 5pm? (Saturday work should only be 9am to 1pm and not at all on Sundays and Bank Holidays)
  • How long has the work been going on for?
  • What activities are causing the noise?
  • Who are the developers / which businesses are causing the noise?

We ask these questions to help us determine whether the developers of the site are using something we call Best Practical Means (BPM). This means the method they are using for that particular task is the best available for the location of the site. If this is the case then there is very little we can do to resolve your complaint as the developers do not have other less noisy options available.

The above times are considered generally acceptable for noise generating works. Operating outside of the above times may be agreed, if it can be shown that the works cannot be carried out at any other time, but the contractor / developer must be able to demonstrate that any disturbance will be kept to a minimum.

Emergency services and some emergency repair works will be exempt from these operating times.

For further information contact Environmental Protection Team.

DIY

Most people will need to undertake some form of DIY to repair or improve their home at sometime. People may not always be able to carry out DIY during the day, due to work commitments, and so may need to use evenings or weekends for this.

Whilst DIY tasks often need to be done, it's important to have regard for others. Disturbance from DIY building and decorating can be minimised by:

  • Keeping noisy activities to reasonable times. Noisy activities include hammering, drilling and use of power tools.

  • Be aware that work on the party wall or floor between properties can give surprising levels of noise, for example: wall paper stripping

  • It is important to consider your neighbour's personal circumstances. For example: if they have young children their need for peace and quiet in the early evening will be greater

  • Discuss with your neighbours what noisy jobs you need to do, how long it should take and when you intend to undertake it. Ideally you can agree 'reasonable times' between each other.

  • It you are undertaking a long term DIY project, it's important to ensure you give your neighbours some respite from noisy activities?for some weekends and evenings.

For further information contact Environmental Protection Team.

Fireworks

Fireworks Regulations 2004 has made it an offence for anyone under the age of 18 to possess fireworks. The regulations also prohibit the use of fireworks at night from 11pm to 7am in England and Wales, with extensions for the following festivals:

  • Until 1am following the first day of Chinese New Year
  • On 5 November until 12am
  • Until 1am on the day following Diwali day
  • Until 1am on the day following 31 December

For further information contact Environmental Protection Team.

Music

Amplified sound, such as music from a stereo, hi-fi, radio, TV, sound system or game station, whilst these may be entertainment to you, they can be a noise nuisance to your neighbours.

Here is some simple advice to reduce the likelihood of nuisance to your neighbours:

  • Keep the volume down to a level where it's unlikely to disturb neighbours - whether it's TV, car stereo or home stereo - especially between late evening and early morning.

  • Keep doors and windows closed.

  • If you are playing music outside, try to keep it to a level that cannot be heard outside your own property.

  • Place speakers away from the neighbours' walls, floors or ceilings. Standing them on an insulating material can reduce transmission of sound.

  • When playing amplified music, consider using headphones, either the cord type or infra red which give you more freedom of movement.

  • When you are not using headphones or an earpiece to listen to amplified music, make sure the bass control is set at a low level. The 'bass beat' can be particularly irritating.

  • Be considerate when using personal entertainment, for example toys, computer games.

  • If you are having a party, let your neighbours know beforehand and what time you intend it to finish. Consider inviting the neighbours. Keep windows and doors closed and if someone complains, turn it down.

For further information contact Environmental Protection Team.

Musical instruments and band practice

The playing of musical instruments can be a nuisance depending on how often they are played, the time of day and the volume of the noise.

If you want to play your instrument, it is always best to approach your neighbours that you intend to do so. Ask them if they can hear your music and if it causes them annoyance. Try to agree specific times when they don't mind you playing your music. Talking to your neighbours may avoid complaints.

However, where no agreement is reached, the following guidelines should be followed and only apply to the playing of one instrument.

Do not practice or play music:

  • For more than 45 minutes in any one day;
  • In any room with your windows or doors open;
  • After 8pm or before 8am Monday to Friday (or before 10am on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays); outside timescales previously agreed with your neighbours; within 100 metres of noise sensitive premises such as schools and hospitals.

If you are unable to follow these recommendations, you should practise in another location, further from your neighbour's property. Wherever possible:

  • Do not practice or play music in any room next to your neighbour's property;
  • Use sound-proofed practice rooms;
  • Use practice pads when drumming;
  • Do not use amplifiers

For further information contact Environmental Protection Team.

Parties

We do not wish to stop you from having parties from time to time. However it is important to ensure that noisy activities such as parties do not cause a nuisance to your neighbours. We therefore recommend the following actions:

  • Write to any of your neighbours that might be affected by your party, giving them the date, start and finish time (keep a copy of this letter for your records). If you get on with your neighbours, why not invite them?

  • Do not have parties on a regular basis as it may cause nuisance to your neighbours.

  • During warmer weather, you may want a party or barbeque in your garden. Please remember that noise from outdoor parties can seriously affect your neighbours. Any music played outside should be at a much lower volume, as it will travel further than when played within your property. We recommend that music is not played outside any later than 10:30pm. We also recommend that guests are asked to come inside at 11pm, as noise from talking can sometimes cause a nuisance at night.

  • After 11pm you should check that noise from voices or music cannot be heard outside of your property. It is also important to ensure your windows are kept closed, if music is being played inside your property.

  • Ask guests to leave quietly at night, as banging doors, car doors, waiting taxis and people noise in the street can effect your neighbours.

  • Hold parties on a Friday or Saturday night rather than during the week. Neighbours are likely to be less bothered by noise, if they do not have to get up for work the next morning.

  • We strongly advise against having discos, live bands and karaoke outside or in a marquee in your garden, as they are likely to cause a noise nuisance. Do not use fireworks after 11pm.

For further information contact Environmental Protection Team.

Rail noise

We?have no powers to deal with noise from the normal movement of trains. However, if noise from maintenance or other activities on the tracks are causing a problem, we may be?able to help.

For further information contact Environmental Protection Team.

Vehicles and vehicle alarms

Any noise from a vehicle, not parked on the public highway, can be dealt with by us. This includes noise caused by it or by car repairs, car radios, car alarms and parked refrigerator vehicles.

Noise from alarms and noisy stereos from vehicles on the public highway can be dealt with by us if you can provide car registration and other information.

Noise from traffic and badly maintained vehicles that are on the public highway are the responsibility of the police. Call 101 to contact the police.

You can help prevent noise nuisance from your vehicle alarm by:

  • Installing the alarm in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions
  • Servicing the alarm regularly
  • Adjusting the sensitivity appropriately
  • Ensuring that the sunroof and windows are closed when the alarm is activated
  • Ensuring that, where possible, the alarm's cut-out device limits the time that the alarm sounds and prevents it from repeatedly re-triggering
  • Ensuring the DVLA has up to date registered keeper information that may enable the person responsible for the vehicle to be contacted before formal action is considered necessary.

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