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Environment

Noisy Neighbours and DIY Noise

Everyone's perception of noise nuisance is different. It's not just about sound levels in decibels but of what is acceptable to the average person. Noise is generally considered to be any unwanted sound, but what one person considers an unwanted sound, may not seem unreasonable to someone else.

As an enforcing authority, we have to decide what is reasonable and what is not, before taking action.

If you require our help please contact us.

Tell us:

  • Your Name, Address, and a contact telephone number
  • The address the noise originates from
  • A description of the type of noise,
  • Whether this problems is a single event, or occurs regularly
  • When the problems started, or if a regular occurrence typical problems times
  • The nature of the problems which the noise is causing

We will advise you of the reference number of your report, which you should quote if you contact us again about this matter.

Our Advice

Loud music

Most of the complaints to the service are about loud music from houses and flats, but these are not just parties going on to the early hours. Not everyone appreciates the same level or type of music, particularly if it prevents them from sleeping. We do have a duty to investigate and, if noise is causing a statutory nuisance, we have a duty to serve an Abatement Notice. So, we have come up with the following guidelines for playing amplified music, which may reduce the likelihood of complaints. We still have a duty to investigate, even if you have followed this advice.

  • Try to keep your music at a reasonable level, especially at night or when your doors and windows are open. Consider the area that you live in, is anyone likely to be disturbed by the noise you are creating.
  • Remember that sound travels through walls and ceilings too, especially if the sound insulation is not very good. You might consider isolating your speakers from the floor and wall.
  • As a guide if you close the door to the room where the music is playing and if the music can still be heard in the adjacent rooms then it is likely that your neighbour can hear it too.
  • In the event of serious and persistent noise disturbance this department has the power to seize and retain stereo equipment.

Noise from parties

Whilst we don’t want to stop people having fun, we do have a duty to investigate and, if noise is causing a statutory nuisance, we have a duty to serve an Abatement Notice. So, we have come up with the following guidelines for party holders, which may reduce the likelihood of complaints. We still have a duty to investigate, even if you have followed this advice.

  • Try to hold the party somewhere where your neighbours will not hear the music. (Should you hire a hall?)
  • Warn neighbours in advance, not just those who live next door, but people across the road and those who back on to your property. This gives them the option to go away for the night, if they can. You might consider inviting them.
  • Give your neighbours a finishing time, one that is reasonable, and stick to it. Even the most tolerant of neighbours won’t accept being kept awake all night. Give them a number to call if they need to let you know of a problem and, if they call you, respond appropriately.
  • Keep music levels down, especially the bass, and do not hire in a disco at your home. Think carefully about where you put the speakers, to minimise sound breakout and do not play loud music outdoors.
  • Reduce music levels after, say, 11 p.m., when neighbours may want to sleep.
  • Bring people inside before 11 p.m., even if you start the party outdoors, and close windows and doors, to control noise more easily.
  • Don’t invite too many people for the size of your property, and know your guests, so that you can trust them, as you will be responsible for them.
  • Say goodbye indoors and ask your guests to leave quietly, without slamming your door or their car doors, on their way home.
  • Do not have parties too often, as complaints are more likely when people are disturbed regularly.

Noise from DIY

We often get complaints about DIY and this can sometimes be very noisy. Whilst we don’t want to stop people renovating and improving their homes, we would ask that this is done with consideration for those living around you. Should we receive a complaint, we do have a duty to investigate and, if the noise created is causing a statutory nuisance, we have a duty to serve an Abatement Notice. So, we have come up with the following guidelines for DIY activities, which may reduce the likelihood of complaints. We still have a duty to investigate, even if you have followed this advice.

  • If you intend to carry out DIY, inform your neighbours in advance.
  • Avoid DIY in the early morning or evening when neighbours may be trying to sleep.
  • Carry out the noisy activities such as using power tools, hammering, works to the party wall during the day time period, as these are less likely to disturb your neighbours at these times.
  • Leave the quiet DIY activities, such as painting, to the early mornings or evening times as these activities are not so likely to disturb your neighbours.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a specific time when a party should end, or when I should stop DIY work
The law sets no specific time limits for generating noise. However noise late into the night generally causes greater disturbance.

What if I am trying to be reasonable but I still get complaints made about me, what happens?
Officers through the course of an investigation act impartially and form opinions on the evidence gathered, should your activities be reasonable and not affect the use and enjoyment of neighbouring premises, then no nuisance will be established and therefore no action will be taken. However the law states that the Authority has a duty to undertake a reasonable investigation. You will always be notified that a complaint has been received about you.

I have had a complaint made about my music, but I do not think that it is too loud, how would I know?You will have been notified that a complaint has been made and therefore someone considered you’re your music is disturbing them. Officers from the Environmental Protection Team will attempt to resolve noise issues informally. Officers can offer you some practical advise on times of day and noise levels, it may also be possible for Officers to visit and listen to your music and advise you of an appropriate noise level for your particular premises

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