The most common noise enquiries are about disturbance from neighbours, such as loud music and televisions, barking dogs, vehicle repairs and DIY noise. Other problems include burglar and car alarms, building site noise, noise made by businesses, licensed premises and noise in the street.
This page provides information on how we investigate complaints and the kind of issues the Council deals with. To report a noise complaint about a neighbour or business use our 'Self Service' form as the most efficient way to let us know. Giving us your email address as well as a phone number means we can keep in touch with you more easily.
We cannot respond to anonymous complaints as we need to prove nuisance at the home of the people disturbed by the noise. We also need information about where the noise is coming from, or where you think it is coming from so we can contact them. Often people don’t know they are causing a problem and will resolve issues quickly when they realise.
When you make a complaint, we will contact the person you have complained about to ask them to consider what they are doing and ask them to stop anything which may be causing the noise problem. When we contact the person you have complained about, your details will be kept confidential.
We will also ask you to keep records of the noise nuisance and how it affects you. This may be used as evidence in a Magistrates Court at a later date. This Nuisance Diary Sheet (.docx | 215kb) can be downloaded from this page to print and fill in.
Please don’t use these forms without first making a complaint as they are for use after we have notified the person who you have complained about.
If you are not able to complete a nuisance diary (rather than you don’t want to), please discuss this with the investigating officer dealing with your case.
After you send us the nuisance diary, and if the noise is something we can deal with, we will arrange to visit at times when we are likely to hear the noise or ask you to call us out when it happens and if needed use recording equipment to gather evidence
If we visit to assess a noise we will normally need to visit you in your home to listen to the noise where you are most affected by it. The recording equipment which we may install for use with irregular timed incidents, at night and outside office hours enables us to record the sounds you hear and their volume when you press the record button.
Working With Other Agencies
If your complaint is about noise or nuisance from an industrial site which has an Environmental Permit regulated by the Environment Agency, and that particular issue or part of the site is controlled by the permit (dust emissions, noise and vibration etc.) then we will refer the case onto them. In cases like this we are unable to take enforcement action ourselves, but may assist the Environment Agency in their investigations.
Closing Your Case
We will close cases where they have been resolved, where we have not been able to gather evidence that a nuisance exists or is likely to happen, or where cases are not nuisances.
If you have returned a nuisance diary or we have made visits to assess the nuisance we will try to speak with you as well as confirming the closure of the case by email or letter. This will give you information on what the next step is if the problems happen again, or in a case where we are not able to take action, that you have information about your options.
If you have not returned the nuisance diary within 4 weeks of making a complaint we will assume the situation has been resolved by the initial contacts to the person you said was causing a nuisance and close the case.
If we receive a complaint of loud music the investigating officer will consider the following when assessing nuisance:
The volume of music, the bass content and the duration of the noise. You can report loud music via our ‘Self Service’ forms.
Barking Dogs are commonly complained about. But many dogs like to bark! It's a totally natural thing for them to do and in most cases it doesn't cause any problems. However, sometimes a dog may bark a lot, disturbing neighbours, keeping you awake at night or frightening visitors to your home. A barking dog is lonely, bored or unhappy. If you have to leave your dog, make sure it has had enough exercise. If necessary leave the radio on to keep it company and get a neighbour to look in. Please download our Barking Dogs information sheet for more detail.
Intruder alarms are designed to sound to make people aware of a problem. However they should not sound for more than 20 minutes and should have an auto cut off device fitted. If they sound repeatedly of continuously they may be faulty or there may be a power issue at the address. Continuously sounding intruder alarms simply advertise that no-one is there!
As firework noise is short lived, in practice it can prove difficult to locate the source. To avoid noise problems with fireworks we recommend that you tell your neighbours about the display and locate the fireworks away from buildings that could reflect noise.
The UK Firework Review website contains the main laws, regulations and other key points you will need to be aware of when you buy and use fireworks in the UK.