Noise nuisance

Noise is defined as unwanted sound. Something that is noise to one person may not be to another.

There are many causes of noise disturbance and many controls - although not every noise disturbance has a remedy in law.

For something to be a statutory nuisance it must be considered to be unreasonable to the “average person” and something that is more than an annoyance. A sound being audible in your home does not automatically make it a statutory nuisance and it should not be assumed that it can be resolved by council intervention. A noise that occurs very occasionally or is of short duration is unlikely to be a statutory nuisance. 

When the council assess your nuisance complaint we would have regard to:

  • the time the noise happens (noise may be a nuisance at any time of day or night)
  • the duration of the noise
  • the frequency of the noise (both the tone/pitch and how often it occurs);
  • the type of noise;
  • whether there is social acceptance or value; for example, bonfire night.

As such the following kinds of noise are unlikely to be considered a statutory nuisance:

  • A one-off party;
  • Neighbours arguing;
  • A lawnmower used during the daytime;
  • A baby crying or dogs barking occasionally.
  • Slamming doors
  • Household appliances
  • Typical noise from children
  • Hard floor noise

The Council has no legal powers to control the following kinds of noise and as such we are unable to investigate complaints encompassing the below:

  • Road traffic on the public highway;
  • People shouting/laughing or screaming on a public road or footpath;
  • Air traffic noise.
  • Railway noise (in most circumstances as Section 122 of the Railways Act 1993,  prohibits nuisance actions in relations to operational noise against railway operators.

Tips to avoid a noise nuisance complaint

If you are someone who is planning a party or carrying out any DIY or anything else that may disrupt your neighbours then it is strongly recommended that you let them know well in advance of your intentions. Take all reasonable steps to minimise any potential disruption. It is often not knowing when a noisy activity is going to end that is a big issue for people as they may assume it is going to be days but in reality could be just a couple of hours. Try to keep music levels lower after 11pm and not audible outside the property. In relation to DIY activities avoid noisy works in the evenings sundays or bank holidays if possible.

For general information and advice on statutory nuisance please visit our statutory nuisance homepage. The page provides background information on what the requirements are for something to be a statutory nuisance, information on how we investigate and what information and commitment we would require from our complainants.

Report noise nuisance online

Information on Noise nuisance

Sub-categories of Noise nuisance