The noise service

Environmental health have legal powers to deal with certain noise problems and can deal with noise complaints from a variety of activities including:

  • Domestic sources e.g. barking dogs, amplified music, DIY noise
  • Industrial sources e.g. noisy fans, generators
  • Commercial sources e.g. entertainment noise
  • Construction Sites e.g. noise from building /demolition works
  • Certain noise in streets from vehicles, machinery and equipment

As well as dealing with complaints of noise we also do a lot of preventative work to stop noise occurring, these include:

  • Assessment of the impact of noise of new developments under the Development Control [Planning] system
  • Educational campaigns e.g. Noise Awareness week
  • Public Entertainment Licensing to control noise from certain public entertainment events

Complaints can be made by telephone, by email or by letter to the council’s environmental health department. You can also report incidents online.

Your complaint should include the following information:

  • Your name and address and (where possible) a daytime phone number
  • The address (or site) where the noise is coming from and the type of noise
  • When and how long the noise occurs
  • The way the noise affects you (e.g. stops you from sleeping).
    Anything you have done to try and deal with the problem (e.g. speaking to the person making the noise)
  • Any information on landlord details [if relevant]
  • When we receive your complaint, we may have to ask you for extra information, if we do not have all the necessary details. You will be requested to keep a log of disturbances you experience throughout the period of our investigation.
  • If the problem is the responsibility of another agency we will tell you.

Please note: Complaints about noise from Housing Association tenants will be dealt with in partnership with the relevant Housing Association.

Noise from burglar alarms

We get complaints every year about intruder alarms sounding and the vast majority are sounding falsely. Environmental Health Officers will require an alarm to be turned off if consider it to be causing a nuisance. The cost of this is passed on to the owner or occupier of the house and the bill can turn into hundreds of pounds.

You should check to ensure the alarm is fitted with a 20 minute cut-out device. Even the best maintained alarm systems however, can sometimes develop faults. You can help us, and perhaps save yourself a considerable sum of money by having someone else hold a key for you. If you let us know who your key holders are, we can contact them and get your alarm turned off with less hassle.

Noise from fireworks

The law relating to fireworks has changed with the Fireworks Act 2003 and Regulations subsequently made which puts new restrictions on the use of fireworks. The Act says no-one shall use an adult firework during night hours between 11 pm to 7am except on the following occasions: Times when late night fire works are permitted:

11pm – 1am on Chinese New Year
11pm – 12am on 5th November
11pm – 1am on Diwali
11pm – 1am on New Years Eve

The Council is not likely to consider a ‘one – off’ firework event during permitted hours to merit a noise nuisance investigation. However if you are disturbed by your neighbours lighting fireworks on a regular basis and consider this to be unreasonable contact Environmental Health to discuss.

Noise that we cannot deal with

We have no legal powers to deal with certain noise nuisances. These are dealt with by the agencies as follows:

Air traffic noise:
Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Aviation and Environment Division, 1/33 Great Minister House, 76 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DR Tel: 0300 330 3000 Fax: 020 7944 2191

Military aircraft noise:
Ministry of Defence, DAS 4(Sec), Room 8249, Main Building, Whitehall, London SW1A 2HB Tel: 020 7218 6020

Street noise from children playing, shouting etc.