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Advice if someone has made a noise complaint about you

I've been told that I'm making too much noise, what can I do

Knowing that someone is affected by your noise can be upsetting but you shouldn’t take it personally. By approaching you directly they have shown they want to solve it informally. Consider what they have said and if you think there is any truth in it, quickly take steps to reduce your noise.

If you know who is being disturbed you may want to politely approach them and advise them what you have done/are planning to do to see if it has solved the problem.

We have to live by our neighbours for a long time and no one wants to be embroiled in a neighbour dispute. Please see our guide on being a good neighbour and further advice on how to reduce noise from different sources (domestic, commercial, building work, licensing).

We encourage people to try to resolve noise issues between themselves before contacting us. However, if the complainant alleges that the noise is continuing, we have a duty to investigate and an officer will contact you. The purpose of this is to advise you of alleged times, dates and effect of the noise and to understand your version of events. We do not take sides, instead we are trying to establish the facts and if appropriate give informal advice on reducing noise.

Unfortunately, a few people choose to knowingly cause excessive noise and in these cases, we will carry out noise monitoring, either in person or using electronic sound recording equipment to prove existence or likely occurrence of a statutory noise nuisance.

What will happen if it is a statutory noise nuisance

If it can be proved that the noise amounts to a statutory nuisance, we will serve a statutory abatement notice, requesting that the noise is stopped. This may be done immediately or after seven days. The notice will ask that steps are taken to reduce the noise nuisance within a specified time. There is no set time period as the works required to reduce the noise will vary, for instance a factory will require more time to replace a fan, whereas a stereo can be turned down immediately.

In very few cases, the person responsible for the noise chooses not to comply with the statutory abatement notice. In such instances, we will take further legal proceedings and this may include a court case and seizing all noise making equipment such as televisions and stereos. If the court finds you guilty of failing to comply with a noise Abatement Notice, this a criminal offence with a maximum fine of up to £20,000 (link to explanation of the law).

However, if after monitoring we decide that the noise is not a statutory nuisance or despite best effects we are unable to witness the noise over a reasonable period of time, the case will be closed. The complainant still has the option to take their own action at the magistrates court, however, we will not be involved.