On this page, you will find frequently asked question for people who have received a letter informing them of a noise investigation.
Why have we sent you a letter?
We are simply bringing to your attention that we have received a complaint about noise which is alleged to be coming from your address and to explain what the issue is. We hope that in doing so this might help resolve the issue.
In the majority of cases, most people ensure that any further reasonable cause for complaint does not happen. If you have been incorrectly identified as the source of unreasonable noise the allegation will not reflect badly against your name or address on any record held by The Council and you can ignore the letter.
What will happen next?
Nothing will happen unless we get further complaints.
The person who has complained will be asked to contact us the next time they are disturbed by the noise. In the majority of cases when this happens we will assess the noise from within their home. This may be from the living room, bedroom or garden depending on where they are affected by the noise.
It will be necessary for the complainant to assist us in gathering the evidence needed for the assessment. This may include some or all of the following:
- When the noise occurs on a frequent basis for periods longer than half an hour (e.g. loud music or when a dog is barking) we will ask the complainant to contact us so that we can attend to witness the noise. We are available both during the day and at night (including weekends)
- When the noise is intermittent and of short duration (e.g. loud banging) it is likely that we will install one of our electronic recorders. These record noise at the same level the human ear can hear it. If your noise is audible within the complainants home these devices will record that noise.
How do the Council assess how much noise is too much?
During the investigation the following will be taken into account:
- The type of noise and the characteristics of your location
- What time it occurs
- How often it occurs
- How long it lasts
- How loud it is
- How it affects the complainant
- How many other people are affected
To be a nuisance the noise must be created unreasonably and be impacting upon someone within their property. If your noise is audible but is not created by unreasonable behaviour then we will not take any further action.
A good example of this might be a complaint of noise created by children playing. Noise of this type frequently gives rise to complaint however children playing at reasonable hours is not considered unreasonable and therefore is highly unlikely to be investigated further.
Isn't it true that I can make as much noise as I like from 7 in the morning until 11 at night?
This is not true. A noise nuisance can occur at any time of the day. When investigating a complaint of noise we will always consider the points we’ve set out above.
Who has complained?
The Council know the identity of the person making the complaint and where they live. We do not accept anonymous complaints. We will not however tell you who that person is. This information is protected by law.
What if I have a reason for making the noise?
We will do nothing about reasonable noise. We accept that we all make noise and that everyone should expect to tolerate some noise from their neighbours. We will do nothing about everyday living noise.
I don’t like the thought of someone monitoring the noise from my home
The noise monitor will simply pick up what your neighbour can hear. The complainant does not have access to the recording and we will only listen to it to determine if there is a statutory nuisance. The recording however, may be used in court if necessary.
I am a bit deaf so I have to have my TV quite loud to hear it
We cannot take into account any personal sensitivity when making our decision regarding statutory noise nuisance. Having your TV at a loud volume so that your neighbours’ enjoyment of their home is affected is not reasonable.
What if I disagree with the nature of the complaint? I don’t make any unreasonable noise
We take this into account when we are deciding if there is a statutory nuisance. For example any reasonable person would think it was OK to carry out DIY to your home. However if the DIY went on until late at night and stops your neighbour from sleeping then that would not be reasonable. Likewise if your music is so loud that the neighbours can hear what you are listening to and have to turn their TV up then that is not reasonable.
I think my neighbour has complained because of a long standing dispute
If this is the case we will still investigate issues related to nuisance behaviour. If we do not prove that you are creating a noise nuisance that will be the end of the matter.
I think my neighbour is sensitive to noise
Most people who contact this service believe that they have a legitimate complaint and a genuine concern. When undertaking an investigation of a noise complaint, we do so from the point of view of the average person. In this way we avoid any particular sensitivities that the complainant may have and make a judgement based on the officer’s assessment of the noise.
It’s the lack of insulation between properties which is the problem
Poor sound insulation between adjoining properties can give rise to complaints. In circumstances where everyday living noise can be clearly heard we will generally take no enforcement action.
It's not my fault my dog barks - all dogs bark
The council accept that all dogs bark from time to time. A barking dog is not necessarily a nuisance. We are interested only in dogs that bark persistently and frequently. If we witness your dog barking for no apparent reason and you are not taking steps to prevent it from doing so then it is highly likely that action will be taken against you.
It isn't me creating the noise
We all have to accept a certain level of noise in our community. We advise all complainants of this. If you believe you are acting reasonably and that the complaint has been made maliciously / unreasonably / or you are adamant that you have been identified incorrectly as the source of the noise then you needn’t do anything at all. It is highly unlikely that we would contact you again without an officer of this service positively identifying you as the source of any unreasonable noise.
What can I do to resolve this noise complaint?
Ensure that all the noise that you make is reasonable. If you do this then any complaint made won’t be justified and we won’t take any action against you. Put yourself in the position of your neighbours. Be aware that they might have a different lifestyle than you and that your behaviour could be unreasonable as a result.
If however you feel that there could be an element of truth to the complaint then simply be aware of the type of noise being complained of and take sensible steps to reduce the amount of noise you make. For example if you think you may have played your music a bit loud then just be mindful that your neighbours have been able to hear it sufficiently loudly and clearly and were sufficiently annoyed to register a complaint. Not doing it again will make the complaint go away.
What will happen if officers hear the noise I'm making?
If we witness the noise you are making and consider it to be a nuisance i.e. your noise is unreasonable and impacting upon your neighbour, then we will serve a legal notice, called an abatement notice, upon you. This will require you to stop causing a nuisance to your neighbour. If you do not comply and nuisance is caused again then you may be guilty of an offence and may be prosecuted in Court.
The fines for not complying with a noise abatement notice are unlimited. In cases where the noise nuisance is regularly witnessed we are likely to obtain a Court order to seize from your home any equipment contributing to the cause of the nuisance. This action is only taken in extreme circumstances. We will continue to contact you each time we witness a noise nuisance coming from your property.
Will this complaint be held against me?
No. Where we make no further contact with you, this first letter is of no relevance whatsoever and you should have no regard to it in the future.