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Environment

Noise from Industrial or Commercial Activities

Noise complaints concerning industrial and commercial premises can be investigated by the Environmental Protection Team, the investigation procedure is similar to the investigation of all noise complaints described in ‘how we investigate complaints’  section.

There can be a number of different types of noise created by commercial/industrial premises such as noise from fans, fork lift trucks, tannoys, alarms, machinery and equipment used at the premises, to name but a few.

In addition to the noise investigation procedure, there are some specific British Standards relating to noise levels from commercial and industrial premises where the noise from their activities are affecting nearby residential properties, where the nature of the complaint is of this nature, then the Officers will need to visit to take some noise levels of the activities coming from the commercial or industrial premises.

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.

Legal Controls on Commercial and Industrial Noise

The legal controls concerning noise created from commercial and industrial premises are covered within the Environmental Protection Act 1990, section 79 of this Act covers noise from premises.

The investigation procedure remains the same as for any noise complaint, (see ‘How we investigate complaints’) although in addition  there is also specific guidance for noise levels from commercial and industrial premises that will assist in the investigation process in order to determine whether the noise is a statutory nuisance. In order to determine this the investigating officer will need to visit your premises and take some noise measurements when the particular activity is happening to determine whether the noise created is a ‘statutory nuisance’.

The Environmental Protection Act provides for the service of a noise Abatement Notice where statutory nuisance exists or is likely to occur or recur. A statutory noise nuisance is noise disturbance that would materially and therefore significantly interfere with an average person’s lawful right to the enjoyment of their home. If the Council is satisfied that a statutory nuisance exists, it must serve an Abatement Notice on the person/company responsible that requires the nuisance to be abated. This Notice can require the abatement of the nuisance, the restriction of the nuisance or require works to be undertaken within a reasonable specified time scale. This formal action may be deferred for up to 7 days where it is considered that the nuisance may be abated voluntarily by the person responsible.

A person who fails to comply with the requirements of the Notice may, subject to appeal, be prosecuted in the Magistrates Court and in the case of a trade or business premises be liable on conviction to a maximum fine of £20,000.

As part of the Council’s investigations we will ask you to describe the disturbance that you are suffering in detail before we approach the proprietor of the business informally to discuss the problem and seek a resolution.

Frequently Asked Questions

The business next to my house has a whining noise all night that stops me sleeping, what should I do? You can make a complaint to the Environmental Protection Team, who will investigate to determine what the noise is, informal approaches to the business will be made to resolve the matter, should this not be successful Officers may need to visit your property at night to measure the noise and determine if it is causing a statutory nuisance.

A new factory been built next to my house and I can hear all that they say over the tannoy system, what should I do?
 You can make a complaint to the Environmental Protection Team, who will investigate, informal approaches to the business will be made to resolve the matter, should this not be successful Officers may need to visit your property to witness and measure the noise to determine if it is causing a statutory nuisance. Officers will also liaise with the Planning Department to ensure that they are complying with their planning permissions.

I have just changed my job to work nights and I can’t sleep during the day because of the shop next to my house, but it never caused me a problem before?
The law relating to nuisance does not take into account sensitivities of individuals or shift workers, it only considered what would ‘materially interfere with the average persons use of their property’, that average person would not be a shift worker. Therefore although the matter could be investigated it may be that no action could be taken as their activities may not unreasonable for the premises at that time of day.

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