The noise service

The public health team in 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

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

Complaints can also be submitted 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. 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.

Initially we will write to the person alleged to be causing the disturbance informing them that a complaint has been made. The alleged offender is advised what noise the complaint is regarding and advised to take steps to control the noise. They are also advised that investigations to establish nuisance will start should we receive further complaints.
At the same time the complainant is asked to keep a noise disturbance record to aid the investigation. This record may then be used if legal action is necessary later.

Noise from burglar alarms

We get many complaints every year about intruder alarms sounding and the vast majority are sounding falsely. Environmental health officers have to get these turned off, sometimes by force. 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 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 for permitted displays, displays for local authority or national public celebration.

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

Even on these special days you can not use category 3 fireworks which, produce a sound level exceeding 120 decibels later than 11pm. Categories of fireworks are labelled on the box.


Bothered by noise from fireworks?

Unfortunately, there is no specific law to deal with the noise made by fireworks. The ordinary noise nuisance laws are not applicable to firework noise as:

  • a firework event, held once a year for an hour or so, is not a continuous or ongoing noise nuisance
  • fireworks are often used to celebrate cultural or religious ceremonies and this would be the view taken by any court in relation to fireworks used during such periods
  • it would be difficult to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that any one event or person is causing the noise problem when there may be other or similar events held locally
  • We cover a large area with thousands of buildings and gardens, to pinpoint where the fireworks are coming from and identify the person responsible, is not possible
  • Monmouthshire do not offer a reactive out of hours service, although we do carry out some pre-arranged out of hours work

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:

Road and railway noise:
The National Assembly for Wales, Transport, Planning and Environment Group, Transport Policy Division, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NQ Tel: 029 20826512

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 not from vehicles or machinery:
We cannot deal with children playing, shouting and screaming and anti-social behaviour in general.

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