Acceptable and unacceptable noise

The point where noise stops being acceptable and becomes a nuisance can be a difficult to judge. The things that help to decide whether noise is a nuisance in a given situation can include:

  • the loudness and type of noise
  • how long the noise goes on for
  • how often the noise occurs
  • time of day or night when the noise occurs
  • character and the type of noise
  • character of the area
  • how noise sensitive the person making the complaint is.

There are certain noise sources that can be easily dealt with by law (Environmental Protection Act 1990) and there are others that can't.

Noise problems we can help with

The following are types of noise nuisance that are often dealt with by the Council. The list covers the most common (but not all) types of problem that we should be able to help you with:

  • loud music
  • barking dogs and other noisy animals, e.g. cockerels
  • burglar alarms / car alarms
  • DIY noise (e.g. late at night)
  • noise from pubs, clubs and other entertainment venues
  • industrial / commercial noise.

Noise problems we can't help with

The following list gives types of noise that in most cases can't be dealt with as a noise nuisance in law (the list covers most, but not all, types):

  • normal sounds of living, e.g. footsteps, closing doors, talking, using household appliances during the day are unlikely to be a nuisance covered by the law
  • traffic / train noise from a road / railway
  • street anti-social behaviour (please call the Police)
  • babies crying or young children playing.

The laws about noise can be hard to understand, so if you are in any doubt about the problems you are having with noise then you should contact us.

Report a problem with noise