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How we Deal with Noise Complaints

When a noise nuisance complaint is made we will discuss the complaint with you and advise you on the noise investigation process. The first stage of an investigation is to obtain evidence from you detailing what the cause of the nuisance noise is, when it is happening and how it is affecting you.

This evidence can be provided using the Noise App on an Android or Apple device. This app allows users to provide details to the Council of how the noise is affecting them and includes the ability to upload audio for the investigating officer to review. Details of how to use this app are in the Noise App User Guide which can be downloaded from the link on this page. Please note that Noise App reports will only be accepted from someone who has already made a complaint to the Council. Please visit our Report a Noise Problem page to make a noise complaint to the Council.

If you do not wish to use the Noise App then you can document the incidents on diary sheets. This will require you to detail the times and dates of the noisy incidents and how it has been affecting you.

We would normally expect Noise App reports or diary sheets to cover a minimum of a two-week period before being able to determine whether to investigate further. If this time period is not long enough to be representative of the noise issues experienced then this time period can be extended to three weeks. If after three weeks you have not submitted any Noise App reports or diary sheets the investigating officer will remind you to submit these if you want the investigation to happen. If no Noise App reports or diary sheets are received in the following two weeks the case will be closed.

Noise App reports and / or diary sheets provide us with useful information such as the character and intensity of the noise nuisance. Most importantly, your reports or diary entries may reveal patterns relating to the duration and frequency of the noise nuisance. We will use this information to decide whether and how to investigate further.

The investigating officer will review the Noise App reports or diary sheets and determine whether it is appropriate to investigate further and if so what tools should be used. If after review the investigating officer believes that the Noise App reports or diary sheets do not demonstrate that the noise is likely to be a statutory nuisance they shall inform you and the case will normally be closed.

If after review the decision is made to investigate further, the officer will advise you on the next steps. These will usually follow the process below:

  • Contacting the person responsible for the alleged nuisance with the intention of trying to resolve the matter informally and warning them that further action will be taken if there is sufficient evidence that they are causing a statutory nuisance.
  • Installation of recording equipment in your home. The equipment is typically installed for about one week and allows the user to record the noise that is affecting them as well as the sound levels (decibels). The equipment we use is very sophisticated and is calibrated to give accurate readings of sound levels. Uncalibrated recordings such as on smartphone apps do not have the same evidential value. Our recordings can give the investigating officer valuable evidence on what is being experienced in the home of the affected person. Please be aware that noise recordings alone are not generally sufficient evidence to prove that a statutory nuisance exists.
  • If the recording equipment provides evidence that a statutory nuisance may exist, the next stage is for an authorised officer to visit your property to witness the noise. In some cases the investigating officer may decide that an officer visiting the property is more appropriate than the installation of recording equipment. If monitoring by an officer is required the investigating officer will advise you what form this shall take. Where appropriate it can involve visits out of office hours.
  • Taking formal witness statements from you and other witnesses. This will be required to use your Noise App reports or diary sheets as evidence.
    The determination of whether a statutory nuisance exists is made by an authorised officer based on all the evidence gathered, in particular the assessment made by the officer(s) who have witnessed the noise.
  • Serving a legal notice on the responsible person if it is determined that a statutory nuisance exists or is likely to occur.
  • Monitoring that the notice is being complied with. This will involve further evidence gathering and witness statements.
  • Beginning prosecution procedures against the responsible person if appropriate. In some cases (e.g. loud music) where there is sufficient evidence to prove that the Notice has been breached the Council may decide to apply to a Magistrate for a warrant to seize the noisemaking equipment.

You will be kept informed of progress throughout the process by a named officer.
If we feel that we are unable to support your complaint, or if you do not want to use our services, you can take your own legal action. You are strongly advised to consult a solicitor if taking private legal action. If you do employ a solicitor we recommend that you get an estimate of the likely costs first.

You may decide to take action in either the Civil or Criminal Courts. All action by ourselves is undertaken in the Criminal Courts. Civil proceedings for nuisance are not a matter for the Council and you should seek separate legal advice if considering a Civil nuisance action.

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Last updated 18 June 2020
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