If you are being affected by noise, eg noisy neighbours, barking dogs, or noisy equipment at a factory it is best at first to approach the person making the noise or who has control over the noise and explain politely that you are troubled (disturbed) by the noise.
If the Noise Persists
If after the informal approach the noise continues to affect you then contact the local Environment Team, Environmental Health . So start a diary, recording the dates and times of any noise nuisance. (An example is given later in this leaflet.)
If you live in a Council House, it is suggested that you complain first to Housing Services. A condition of tenancy includes a requirement that tenants do not cause nuisance to neighbours. There is a leaflet in the tenant information pack explaining your rights.
Action by Environmental Health
If you make a complaint to the Environment Team, a member of staff will endeavour to respond to your complaint as soon as possible, within five working days.
If time limits or targets are not met, the complainant will be informed of the reason for the delay.
Initially Environmental Health will attempt to solve the problem informally. A letter can be sent to all parties involved explaining the situation and asking the complainant to keep diary record sheets.
If the noise persists, contact the Environment Team again enclosing your record sheets and those of any neighbours also affected and we will investigate further.
If after 3 visits we are unable to establish a nuisance then you will be informed in writing that:-
- No further visits will be made unless the situation becomes worse. You must then make another complaint.
- If you still consider that you are suffering a nuisance then you can take your own action under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990
- If a nuisance has been established by Environmental Health then we will take further action to abate the noise nuisance.
- This will usually involve the service of a statutory notice and could lead to the case eventually being heard at the local Magistrates Court.
- If a case is taken to court, it is essential that all the complainants involved are prepared to give evidence.
Action by yourself
You can take your own action by:-
Complaining to the Magistrates
If you are the occupier of premises affected by noise nuisance, you can, under section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 complain directly to a Magistrates' Court. You may wish to do this because you do not want to involve the local authority or because they have not been able to help you.
Taking Civil Action
Civil action at common law may be taken if you can demonstrate that the noise nuisance substantially affects your health, comfort or convenience. It can prove very expensive, though, and it is wise to seek legal advice.
If you win the case you may obtain an injunction to stop the nuisance, or sometimes it is possible to claim damages.
Civil action differs from Magistrates' Court proceedings in that the judgment is based on how the nuisance affects others and proving that the "best practicable means" have been used to prevent the noise is no defence.
A leaflet entitled "Neighbourhood Noise - What You Can Do" is also available from this office explaining the complaints system in more detail.
Suggested Diary Record of Nuisance
Brief Description of Nuisance (including origin):
Time Commenced/First Noticed:
Description of Nuisance (including how nuisance affected you at that time, use a number of adjectives in your description):
Report the occurrences as and when they take place so that a complete picture is obtained
Please click on the related page above to link through to a Complaints Diary Sheet which can be printed and sent to Environmental Health.
IF YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS ABOUT THE ASPECTS OF NOISE NOT MENTIONED ABOVE PLEASE CONTACT THE ENVIRONMENT TEAM, ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH ON 01884 244601/2/3 FOR FURTHER ADVICE OR EMAIL US AT firstname.lastname@example.org