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Statutory noise nuisance

What is a statutory noise nuisance

Many factors are considered to determine something is a statutory nuisance including:

  • Location - Is the noise typical for the area? A cockerel crowing in the country is more accepted than a cockerel crowing in a quiet residential area.
  • Time of day - A statutory nuisance can exist at any time, however the effects of noise late at night when most people are more likely to be sleeping would be given greater weight than the same noise occurring during the day.
  • Frequency - How frequently are you affected by the noise? Noisy parties held weekly or monthly would be viewed differently to one held occasionally.
  • Duration - How long are you disturbed? A dog barking at the postman or occasional passer-by would be viewed differently to one barking most of the day.
  • Sensitivity and intensity - How loud is the noise and how intrusive is it? We all have different thresholds and tolerances. In determining nuisance the judgement would be how the noise would affect an ordinary individual, not someone who had a particular sensitivity to the noise complained of.
  • Number of people affected - A view will be taken on the number of people who are, or could be, affected by the noise. If only one person complains when the whole street could equally be affected, then there could be a challenge that the individual making the complaint could be unduly sensitive. See intensity above.

How do you report a noise nuisance

You will need to gather information, including diary sheets and audio recordings using the noise app or you can use a digital camera. This will support the investigation process and will be used as part of our investigation:

Report a nuisance

What happens next

We will investigate to see if a statutory noise nuisance exists. If the noise amounts to a statutory nuisance, we will serve a statutory abatement notice, requiring the noise is stopped. This maybe done immediately, or after seven days. The notice will require that steps are taken to reduce the noise nuisance within a specified time. There is no set time period for instance a factory will require more time to replace a fan, whereas a stereo can be turned down immediately.

What happens if the noise doesn't stop

If the person responsible for the noise doesn't take any steps to stop the noise. We will take further legal proceedings. This may include a court case and seizing all noise making equipment such as televisions and stereos. If the court finds them guilty, this a criminal offence with a maximum fine up to £20,000.

However, if after monitoring we:

  • determine the noise is not a statutory nuisance or unreasonable and persistent; or
  • despite best effects we are unable to witness the noise over a reasonable period of time.

The case will be closed. This is not to say that the noise is not an issue, just that we cannot reasonably solve it. In these circumstances you can take your own action at the magistrates court or try mediation. Alternatively, if you may be suffering from a hearing problem additional help is available.