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Report nuisance noise

Our powers

Councils have powers to investigate and deal with defined statutory nuisances under Section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA). The Act is very specific about what could be classed as a statutory nuisance. The problem must be coming from a property or land and must affect another property

For a statutory nuisance to exist, it must be shown that the issue is either ‘prejudicial to your health’ or is significantly interfering with your reasonable enjoyment of your property.

It must occur regularly and continue for a period of time that makes it unreasonable. It is not enough for the issue to be merely annoying or disturbing.

There are no stated levels or time for noise to be assessed as a statutory nuisance; all nuisance is assessed subjectively.

When assessing a case of we will take into consideration a range of factors including:

  • duration
  • frequency
  • impact – i.e. material interference with use of property or personal well-being; actually or likely to be adverse to health
  • local environment
  • motive – i.e. unreasonable behaviour or normal user
  • sensitivity of the plaintiff – statutory nuisance relies on the concept of the average person, and is not designed to take account of unusual sensibilities

The Council can only take action where there is evidence that a statutory nuisance is occurring within the terms of the EPA.

Factors where we cannot take action;

No house or flat is totally soundproof so everyone can expect a degree of noise from adjoining neighbours. If you are being disturbed by noise from neighbours, it may be because:

  • your neighbours are behaving normally but the sound insulation in the floors or walls between your properties may not be good enough to reduce the sounds of everyday living.
  • child noise, door slamming, people knocking at a neighbour’s door or domestic disputes.
  • you have become sensitised and intolerant to noise, particularly if you do not get on with your neighbours. Some people ‘tune’ into noise from next door and find it ‘unreasonable’, whilst others would not

Read more on our noise action guidance

Operating hours 

To investigate your complaint the noise must be happening while we are on duty. If there is no one on duty, or if the noise has stopped, we will not take action but your complaint will be logged. You can’t make an anonymous report but all complaints are confidential.

Daytime

  • Monday - 8am to 4pm
  • Tuesday to Thursday - 8am to 6pm
  • Friday - 10am to 8pm
  • Saturday - 8am to 4pm

Evenings and nights

  • Monday to Thursday: 8pm to 2am
  • Friday and Saturday: 8pm to 4am
  • Sunday: 8pm to 2am

The best way to report nuisance noise is by using our online form:

Once we have received your complaint you may get a call from us asking you to confirm the noise is still happening. If it is, we will contact you and arrange to visit you in your property to investigate the noise level and find out how it’s affecting you.

Nuisance noise we respond to Toggle accordion

We respond to the following noise complaints:

  • loud music, parties or radios
  • premises alarms
  • noise from commercial premises such as pubs, clubs and licensed premises
  • noisy repairs
  • car alarms
  • dogs barking
  • DIY activities in the evening

Noise from construction work Toggle accordion

Works by builders or contractors should only be carried out from 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday) and 8am to 1pm (Saturdays), not on Sundays or bank holidays. If construction work is carried out outside of these hours you can report it as nuisance noise by using our online form.

Noise from fireworks Toggle accordion

Fireworks set off before 11pm are not considered a noise nuisance and we do not investigate them. Fireworks set off after 11pm should be reported to the police.

We only investigate fireworks noise from domestic premises. Any street fireworks noise should be reported to the police.

There are some exceptions to the times you can set off fireworks until:

  • midnight on 5 November (Bonfire Night)
  • 1am following the first day of Chinese New Year
  • 1am on the day following Diwali
  • 1am on the day following 31 December (New Year’s Eve)

Our response times Toggle accordion

During evening and night operation times, our aim is to respond to any significant noise nuisance within 60 minutes. However, we deal with complaints as they come in, therefore during busy times our response times can vary.

Contact us

Our out of hours phone number is 020 8215 3000