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Noise: common complaints

Information about the most common noise complaints and when the Council can help.

Noise

The most common noise complaints received by the council are about:

Building and Construction Sites

When there is the potential to cause noise nuisance, contractors are expected to stick to working between:

  • Monday to Friday: 8am-6pm
  • Saturday: 8am-1pm
  • Sunday and Bank Holidays: no noisy work

If nuisance is being caused because of something industrial (such as a fan on an air conditioning system or a pump), the Council will contact the business as soon as possible to resolve the problem. If this is not fixed immediately, we will work with you to assess and control the noise.

Dog Barking

If your neighbour's dog is barking excessively for long periods of time or through the night, the best thing to do is speak to them about the issue. If this fails, please contact the council who will look into your complaint and work with the dog owner to support them to control the problem.

If you own a dog and are looking for ways to stop it barking, there is plenty of advice available from DEFRA or the  Dogs Trust. Please bear in mind that the RSPCA will only look into cases of severe mistreatment and neglect.

DIY

If you are planning on doing DIY that may disturb your neighbours, it is a good idea to let them know when you intend to start and how long it is likely to take. It is also a good idea to agree when you will start and finish work each day; avoiding working in the evenings, being considerate of neighbours with young children and those who do shift work. Remember that dust and smoke may be a disturbance, so try and keep it to a minimum.

There are no set rules about noise levels and times. If you are finding that your neighbours are doing noisy DIY at anti-social hours and it is bothering you, have a polite word with them and see if you can resolve the problem. If this fails, the Council may be able to investigate and see if it is a statutory nuisance.

Alarms

You can report noisy alarms to the Council. We will try and contact the owners, and have it switched off if necessary.

Most complaints happen because of how long an alarm rings for, rather than the volume of noise produced. If you own an alarm, make sure it is installed and maintained properly. It is a good idea to leave a key with a trusted person who can switch it off when you are away. You could also fit an automatic cut-out device or registering it with a company who can respond effectively to false alarms.

Parties

If you decide to have a party, we recommend that you let your neighbour know out of courtesy. Keep the music at a reasonable volume and avoid putting speakers against party walls and outside. If you still have guests later on in the evening, keep them inside, shut windows and doors and make sure they leave quietly.

Noisy parties should not be a regular occurrence. If they are happening regularly, then the council can investigate them as a noise nuisance. The Police may also stop a noisy party from happening if they receive a complaint.

Noise the Council can't help with

Usually, the Council cannot help with noise complaints where the source is:

  • children playing (e.g. in a garden, school, public space or park)
  • speech (talking and shouting) unless unreasonably loud or at unreasonable times day-to-day
  • domestic noise (e.g. lawn mowing, hedge trimming, vacuuming)
  • rowdy behaviour on the street - this is a police matter
  • traffic noise (including essential roadworks and maintenance) - this is the responsibility of the Highways Agency or Highways Authority
  • railway noise (including essential maintenance) - this is the responsibility of National Rail
  • aircraft noise
  • wildlife noise