Common sources of unwanted noise

Street noise

Street noise includes amplifiers or machinery in the street, if they are considered to be causing a noise nuisance.

For machinery involved in road works, however, the law does not consider it a nuisance if it can be proved that it is the best practicable means to carry out the work.

Stationary vehicles can be investigated, eg car alarms, but we have no enforcement powers over moving vehicles.

The police may take action against excessive engine noise or over-loud stereos.

Buskers

Find out more on our Buskers page.

Loud music

Most of the complaints we receive are about loud music from houses and flats.

Not everyone appreciates the same level or type of music, particularly if it prevents them from sleeping.

Please try to keep music at a reasonable level, especially at night or when your doors and windows are open.

Remember that sound travels through walls and ceilings, too - especially if the sound insulation is not very good.

To help reduce sound levels, you might consider isolating your speakers from the floor.

In the event of serious and persistent noise disturbance, we have the power to seize and retain stereo equipment.

Barking dogs

We receive a lot of complaints about barking dogs.

This can be for a number of reasons, particularly if a dog is left alone for long periods and sometimes the owner may not realise that there is a problem.

Our dog warden can advise you about preventing your dog from barking.

The Dog Trust has some useful leaflets available about dog behaviour and barking in particular.

Intruder alarms

You can submit a voluntary key holder record to ensure misfiring alarms can be turned off if you are not around.

If you have an urgent complaint about an audible alarm please call us on 01223 457890 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Thursday, 9am and 4.30pm on Friday.

Public entertainment

All public entertainment events are licensed by the council to promote national licensing objectives, including public safety and the prevention of public nuisance.

Licences may have conditions attached to them to achieve this.

More information can be found in our licences and permits section.

Noise from DIY

We often get complaints about about DIY as this can be very noisy. 

If you intend to carry out DIY, please inform your neighbours in advance. Avoid DIY in the early morning or evening when neighbours may be trying to sleep.

Building sites

Noise from construction work is inevitable and can on occasion cause disruption and disturbance to surrounding properties, powers exist under the Control of Pollution Act 1974 to ensure that the noise is kept to an acceptable level without imposing unnecessary restrictions on contractors.

Under the Control of Pollution Act we may to request sites to use certain methods or more commonly restrict noisy work to certain hours.  As a general rule, where residential occupiers are likely to be affected, it is expected that noisy demolition and construction works shall be carried out during the following hours:

  • 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday
  • 8am to 1pm, Saturday

With no noisy works being permitted outside of these hours or on Sundays or Bank Holidays. 

It's important to note that the Control of Pollution Act may only deal with continuous site noise and is not intended to be used for DIY or one-off short duration pieces of work and that these hours do not necessarily apply to work undertaken on the railway, highway or work to the energy/water network. 

Work outside of these hours may also be permitted where the contractors can demonstrate the need in advance to the Environmental Health Team by submitting details of:

  • The site and premises likely to be affected.
  • The proposed times, dates and nature of the work.
  • Reasons why the works need to be carried out outside normal working hours.

 There will also be emergency situations and certain activities that once start cannot cease until they are completed that might mean work needs to take place outside of these hours.  

Car alarms

Car alarms should be properly maintained. If a council officer witnesses a car alarm sounding that is likely to be a nuisance to residents in the area, a notice can be served on the owner.

If the owner can't be found within one hour, a contractor will be called to disconnect the alarm, but if that proves impossible the vehicle may be removed.

The cost of this work will be recovered from the car owner.

Businesses

Businesses must be able to show that they are using the best practicable means of preventing a noise nuisance.

If a potential noise problem is identified, it may be necessary for officers to monitor the situation and determine if work practices or the machinery used are adequate.

This may include pilers, drills, generators, compressors, etc.

We also investigate complaints about noise nuisance caused by vehicle movements, music, noisy fans and air handling equipment.

Contact us

Environmental Health

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