Questions & Answers

Noise nuisance and pollution explained.

Browse some of the answers to recent questions asked by sufferers of noise nuisance and neighbour noise.

Noisy Neighbours

My neighbours swear constantly and I can hear every word. Can anything be done?
This may be best dealt with as an anti-social behaviour issue but may also qualify as a noise nuisance if loud enough. The Police often lead on ASB.

My neighbour has three dogs. They leave them in the garden alone where they can bark for hours on end.
This clearly sounds unreasonable. Dog barking can be considered a nuisance. Start to maintain a log immediately.

My neighbours play music in the daytime for hours on end. Does the noise have to be at night before action can be taken?
No. Nuisances can take place at any time of the day or night. If the behaviour is regular it is more likely to be classed as a nuisance.

I hear a ringing noise at night when I am in bed and I can’t find out where it is coming from.
Sound level meters can be used to determine whether there is a noise. You should also consider the potential for issues like tinnitus.

I have a neighbour who has a mental illness and makes a lot of noise. I am loosing sleep.
The local authority must investigate and have a duty to respond and take action if necessary. They can liaise with social services and carers.

The Council will not investigate. They say that they do not work at night or evenings and are too busy.
The local authority has a duty to investigate. Ultimately this will require them visiting you but you must also help them by collecting evidence.

I live in a converted property and the sound insulation is very poor. What can be done?
Excess noise attributed to poor insulation can be difficult to deal with if the actions of the neighbour are not unreasonable. Housing legislation or negotiation may provide solutions.

My neighbour plays music when he gets home from the pub. Is there a cut-off time for loud music?
Strictly speaking, no. Noise can be a nuisance at any time. However, noise after 11pm is more likely to be considered an issue.

I want to make a complaint about a neighbour but I am scared they will find out my name.
Nuisance is not based on a decibel limit. A number of variable factors are taken into account when determining nuisance; including loudness.

How loud does a noise have to be before you can take action?
Nuisance is not based on a decibel limit. A number of variable factors are taken into account when determining nuisance; including loudness.

Noise from children playing upstairs is disturbing me throughout the day.
Children playing is seen as quite normal and ordinary behaviour. Is there some cause to think that it is unreasonable in any way?

I am a shift worker and I sleep in the day. As a result, any little thing my neighbour does wakes me up.
Your working pattern is unlikely to be taken into account when assessing nuisance.

Commercial Activity

A car repair business is taking place next door in a residential home. What can be done?
As well as dealing with the noise issue you may wish to find out from the planning department whether they have permission to operate a business.

We hear shouting and laughing coming from the pub next door at all hours. There is also noise from people congregating outside.
All businesses must take reasonable measures to prevent ongoing noise disturbances. As well as nuisance there are also licensing implications for pubs.

I am subject to noise from a gym but the Council say that it has been there for years and has planning permission.
Just because a business has permission to operate does not mean that it can do so without any means to minimise potential noise disturbance.

The rubbish is collected before 7am and really disturbs my sleep.
If this is a weekly domestic collection it is unlikely to be a problem. More regular commercial collections can be a problem but is depends upon local circumstances.

I am regularly disturbed by frequent heavy vehicle movements to and from the industrial unit down the road.
Start by examining any planning restrictions. Also, does it hold any permit or licence to operate? It may be that vehicle movements or times may be changed/limited.

We have been disturbed by a concert and festival three years running. Can we have it stopped?
Events like these are generally governed by the licensing regime. This will stipulate times of operation and other limits such as for sound and capacity. A licence can also be reviewed.

A car repair business is taking place next door in a residential home. What can be done?
Yes. The Council can limit their hours of operation. They can also limit noisy equipment. Councils will often allow noisy works 8am – 6pm Mon-Fri and 8am-2pm Sat.

We have a busker working outside our business every day and it is making it difficult for us to talk to our clients.
Anti-social behaviour powers may be applied to move people on if their behaviour is problematic. Talk to your police and environmental health department.

A planning application has been submitted for a nursery school next door in a residential street.
In residential areas nurseries can cause significant problems throughout the day due to noise from children outside and because of traffic movements.

We have a range of resources for anyone interested in noise nuisance and neighbour noise issues.