Common causes for complaint are loud music, parties, barking dogs, noise from industrial premises and DIY. Advice on how owners can reduce noise from dogs, cockerels, burglar alarms is given below.
Noise becomes a statutory nuisance when it affects your ability to use your own property in the way you normally would, for example, the noise prevents you from sleeping or you have to turn up the volume of your television in order to hear it. Before we can consider any formal action, we have to show the noise is a statutory nuisance.
What can you do?
In the first instance it is better to talk to the person and explain the problem. You may find that it can be resolved amicably and without the need for further action as they may not be aware of the problem. This has the additional benefit of avoiding the tensions that can arise after formal intervention by the Council. Approach the matter carefully if you think your neighbour might react angrily to a complaint.
If you are disturbed by noise from industrial or commercial premises or a building site, try visiting to speak to the site Manager. They may not be aware that there is a problem and maybe able to resolve it. Guidelines on good building site practice is given in our Considerate contractor leaflet [PDF].
If this does not work you can contact Environmental Health to discuss your problem. If the noise is due to unreasonable behaviour, the Council may be able to investigate to determine if the noise causes a statutory nuisance.
What powers does the Council have?
The Environmental Protection Act 1990 gives powers to deal with a statutory nuisance from noise which includes:
• Noise from premises
• Noise from vehicles, machinery or equipment in a street
The council cannot take action in the following circumstances:-
• The noise is not determined as being a statutory nuisance, which is more than a noise being annoying.
• Noise between properties is due to poor insulation so that reasonable noise from normal activity can be heard.
• An individual person is more sensitive or less tolerant to noise.
• Normal traffic noise.
Making a Complaint
For a complaint to be taken for investigation you must-
- provide us your name and address - we cannot investigate anonymous complaints,
- provide a specific address of where the noise is coming from,
- complete and return a noise diary with detailed information of times, dates and a description of how the noise is affecting you, and
- be prepared to go to court if needed.
The actions of the Council, as a result of your complaint, may result in a legal action in the courts. Because of this, it is not possible for us to ensure that you can remain anonymous throughout the investigation. Every effort will be made to ensure that your identity is only revealed when it becomes absolutely necessary.
The Council has a policy on noise complaints whic details how your complaint will be dealt with. You can download a copy of our Noise Complaint Policy [PDF]. The policy explains
- The law which applies
- how we decide whether the noise complained of is, or is not, a statutory nuisance.
- How we investigate a complaint about noise.
You can contact us on 0115 9072244 Ext. 3820 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Barking Dogs - Advice for owners
Noise from dogs barking becomes a problem when it is not controlled and dogs are allowed to bark unchecked. This may be because the dog is left alone all day, either inside and outside of properties and the owner may not be aware of their pet's behaviour and how it is affecting the neighbours who have to listen to it.
Dogs often bark or whine through boredom, distress and fear. Try to ensure your dog is happy. Feed and exercise your dog before you go out and make sure it has water, a comfortable bed and toys. It may help to leave a radio on low or a light on if you are not due back until dark. If the dog is outside position the kennel away from neighbouring properties.
For more information download our Barking Dog leaflet [PDF] or speak to your vet or a dog behaviourist.
Cockerels - Advice for owners
Noise from crowing cockerels are more frequent during the spring and summer months due to the longer daylight hours. A statutory nuisance is more likely to result if a cockerel is crowing at unsocial hours and kept in a built up area. It is worth remembering that a cockerel is not needed for chickens to produce eggs or lay better. Chicken owners should also ensure that they are kept within the boundary of their own land.
To reduce crowing,
• make sure the cockerel is as far away as possible from any neighbouring properties.
• As cockerels tend to crow from first light, put them into a hen house or coop at night so that they are not aware of the dawn light and do not know when to start crowing. Keep the coop as dark as possible.
• Let the cockerel out later in the morning, preferably after 8.00 am as this can delay the early morning crowing.
• Ideally only have one cockerel as they will compete with cockerels which may increase crowing.
• Consider separate coops for different breeds so the coop for smaller breeds can have a lower ceiling height.
False alarms and faulty systems are the most common causes of burglar alarms sounding especially if a fault develops when the owner is on holiday. If a sounding alarm is considered to be a statutory nuisance the Council will serve a Noise Abatement Notice. This may result in the Council obtaining a warrant from the Magistrates' Court if it is necessary to enter the premises to deactivate the alarm if it is not done so when the notice expires. In such cases, the costs of the work will be recovered from the person served with the notice. The following measures will help ensure that an alarm only goes off when it should:
• Regularly check and properly maintain the alarm:
• If not already fitted install a 20 minute cut-out device to prevent the alarm sounding for long periods. Every new alarm installation must be fitted with a working cut-out device that will stop all alarm bells or sirens within 20 minutes from the start of the alarm sounding. After that time, security can be maintained by a flashing light.