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Your Rights Under the Noise Act 1996

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 11 Dec 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Noise Act 1996 Neighbour Advice Noisy

Under the provisions of the Noise Act 1996 and other associated legislation, your local authority has a mandatory obligation to deal with any noise which is deemed to be a ‘nuisance’. It’s not simply at night where the act might come into force, nor is it restricted to common complaints like music and loud parties – general traffic noise, DIY/construction projects and use of other kind of machinery is also incorporated into the legislation.

Measuring The Noise and Permitted Levels

The Permitted Level Of Noise can vary depending on different circumstances and ignorance is not an acceptable excuse. If, for some reason, a person knows that an activity is going to result in excessive noise, it is their responsibility to check with their local authority what level is permitted and what is considered excessive. Local authorities have approved noise measuring devices to determine whether or not a particular ‘noise complaint’ is breaching the law.

Abatement Notices

If the local authority deems that the noise represents a Statutory Nuisance and/or that it’s likely to reoccur, they can issue an abatement notice which will stipulate that the noise stops altogether, is reduced to an acceptable level, or is only permitted between certain times of the day.

However, an abatement notice is not normally served immediately. Usually if you Contact An Environmental Health Officer, they will visit the ‘offender’ first to see if the problem can be resolved without having to take matters further. If the issue hasn’t been resolved within a week, then an abatement notice must be served.

If The Abatement Notice is Not Complied With

Once an abatement notice is issued, if it not complied with, then the offender will have committed an offence. There can be fixed penalty notices and both the courts and the police will now get involved. Fines of up to £5,000 can be imposed on individuals and up to £20,000 if it’s a business within or close to a residential neighbourhood which is involved.

In certain situations where the noise maker might end up being violent or aggressive, the police, in conjunction with the local authority, have the power to Issue An Anti-Social Behaviour Order and if the noise maker fails to comply with that, it might even end up with them even being sent to prison.

Seizing of Equipment

Once an abatement notice has been served, if it is not complied with, an officer from the environmental health department or someone acting upon their behalf, such as a police officer, has the power to gain entry to the residence and to seize the equipment responsible for the problem under warrant provisions. This can be done by force if necessary and can result in a further fine if the person involved wilfully tries to obstruct the removal of the equipment.

The equipment can be seized for up to 28 days, and it is up to the courts to decide what will be done with the equipment in the long term. If no court proceedings have begun within 28 days, the equipment must be returned to its rightful owner. However, if the court decides to convict a person in relation to the said equipment, then a forfeiture order can be made by the court which deprives the offender of any further rights to the equipment.

What to Read Next...

Your Rights Under Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act.

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Can I have some advice? A neighbour has moved in above me. All you can hear is th child running about all day. At times it's gone past 11pm. You can hear the mother shouting at times & doors slamming etc. I understand kids will be kids but surely it shouldn't be going on constantly. I work and have to be up at 6am my 16 year old is studying for her gcses so also needs quiet time. I have tried knocking but she doesn't answer. What can I do?
Kit - 11-Dec-19 @ 9:08 PM
Our neighbour has caused us noise problems for 3 years now, started complaining and filling in diary sheets right from the start, even had the local P.C.S.O'S out and then the housing association with the environmental health telling him to keep it at a certain level. He didn't,2 days after he started up with his base noise again a man in his early 60's playing teenage music for up to 18 hours a time. I have a disability and my poor husband has had a breakdown over this noise that you can hear in every room, a 1 bed bungalow and the perpetrator has a surround system with sound bar a 43" t.v., 4 speakers and some kind of music set up in his kitchen. Oh and he has for some reason taken off his bathroom door so noise comes straight through to our bungalow. He drinks until he passes out and leaves both t.v. and his kitchen set up on loud enough to wake the sleeping. We can't eat, drink or go outside in the good weather for the noise factor, and if he hears us say getting ready for bed he will turn the volume up even more. Have tried to use the apps the housing gave us but not being good with technology it didn't work. Continued to write diaries until I am sick of the sight of them, now someone else is in charge of ASB at the housing and is coming out Wednesday with a Matron noise detector, supposedly to pick up this base noise, but as soon as this perpetrator gets drunk he will forget and leave the noise going until he wakes up, what if this monitor does not work, where will we be then? Have even sent letters written by our G.P in to the housing to no avail, all fell on deaf ears.If you knock on the perpetrators door and ask politely for him to turn the noise down he just tells you to F... off and slams door in your face, he has also turned all 3 neighbours against us especially when the P.C.S.O's came out with their body cams on they said they wouldn't live with it, but when they gave their report into our housing it made no difference, they still let this person live in this bungalow next door to us. Last night he had noise on from 17:00 hrs until 06:30 this morning and he is at it again now. We are sat here in the front room with all our doors shut, we can't eat, sleep do anything anymore this person has taken away 3 years of our lives and nobody but nobody apart from one or two people actually believe us. Just know we can't take much more of this persons ways, we have lived here for 17 years and have been happy bar 3 of them. What on earth can we do as my poor husband has been in A&E for tummy problems only came out last Tuesday to this moron and his drunken behaviour, just know we can't take any more stress from this person. The Police can't do anything, the environmental health people don't come out at night around here. Don't see any end to this what should or what help can we do or get. He is driving us mad and we will be in an early grave if he is left to his ways. Help.
Millie - 1-Dec-19 @ 5:30 PM
My neighbour below started to put the bass music up 3 weeks ago, asked him to turn it down and he said no way it could be him even though I could hear it while I was talking to him. He said its all in my head. I recorded it on a dB meter and it was 30-40 dB. I dont know what the dB limit is for neighbours. He lives in the front apartment so when the council came round to listen he had had seen him and turned it down before he even stepped foot inside. Really dont know what to do now but I miss many a nights sleep and I am so stressed about it.
Rox - 1-Dec-19 @ 3:13 PM
Ever since my neighbor moved in its been hell. Slamming doors and stamping feet fights and shouting. This goes on at all hours day and night, I've tried talking to him about it but he's always out his face and never listens to me, there is always him or a friend or two there so never sure if they will turn nasty to me,I have spoke with other neighbors who also don't feel safe now he has moved in. I have to get up at 4:30 5 days a week to go to work while he and his friends are still up and banging causing me to lose a lot off sleep. All I won't is a quick life but can't because of this person, plus I'm hoping to sell this place but know one would buy knowing what they'd have to put up with this.
Lumps - 4-Nov-19 @ 8:04 PM
Clarice. After midnight?? Where is your common sense and consideration! The law is you're not allowed to vaccum after 8pm.
Tanz - 30-Oct-19 @ 1:09 PM
Is it considered rude to hoover after midnight? Thanks
Clarice - 30-Oct-19 @ 12:21 AM
Hi we have new neighbours that have just brought the house next door. The house needs a lot of work so we are expecting a lot of noise. The one main work man is constantly playing loud music up till 9pm most day's. Even on a Sunday. I've been round and ask him to turn it down slightly as the house is completely empty and it's making his music sound like a boom box. The answer i got back from him was I'm working, I know the law .. I just said there's no need to be rude I'm just ask you to turn it down slightly. Not sure what to do, as the owners seem to be good friends with the workmen.
Joe - 27-Oct-19 @ 4:49 PM
Can i have some information from any body I have a neighbour from hell who lives above me I wrote a warning letter on the notice bored after he come rudely knocking on my door when I was trying to get my son to sleep he rudly said to me oh can I keep my son down from making so much noise by playing with his toys laughing some times he has his bad days where he cries because of his teething, now after I wrote that letter about him calling him A little B**ch n B**ching about my child he went to the council the council sent me three letter's telling me I have to keeo my son down in the day time & at night but it's okay for him to bang loudly above me in my bedroom even my son's room thudding as if he's trying to wake my son on purpose witch he does wake my son up early hours in the morning like 1 or 2oclock I can understand he works late hours some days he's off he doesn't bang in the day time when he's in only at night can I still get the council to kick him out or remove him even though he's brought his flat?, as this is getting rediculous now it's making me so angry how he can get away with noise but my two year old son can't?.. What can I do? I also have evidence on record with the bangs thuds!!!!.
E - 25-Oct-19 @ 11:37 AM
I work night shift . They started do some job downstairs in May, we are end of October and they are still making a lot of noise . They start drilling 8.00 am in the morning, under my floor . I can never rest .... . This situation affect my health, I felt sick at work because luck of rest . I asked the company when they are going to finish and they don’t know . How is possible that there is no law to protect resident in their home ? They should have a timeframe .I don’t know what to do ..... . I don’t feel well and I don’t know how to manage this situation .
Pam - 16-Oct-19 @ 2:48 PM
I have lived in my council houe flat for 15years And in 2017 new neighbour moved in flat above me who are neighbours from Hell Anti socil behavour play loud music and damage to my stuff. He has been served abaitment order which they broke from day one. They get away with everything as i have called so many people for Help with No Luck. I think they are being looked after by council and police as council says they. Have no paper from me which i have so much paper work cctv phone recoredings. I say to everyone recored your talks with everyone involved in your case As they all lie most of all the council lie like mad. Tell you one thing then say somethng different. In letters and phone calls
Mysia - 30-Sep-19 @ 9:23 PM
Hi I’m so depressed and sad most of the time but I live in a four in a block and I have the neighbour from hell he has made my life hell from the moment he moved in and I can’t stand it anymore I just don’t know what do I’m do pissed off to he’s allowed to be noisy all the time he slams doors, he bangs and jumps about and then his toddler son runs about his flat all day till he has to go to his bed and cries constantly I can’t put up with it much longer I’m at my wits end because anytime I make noise he goes crazy and starts being really noisy so I have to stay in my bedroom all the time because that is the quietest room I don’t know what to do and I’m a housing association tenant and he’s private let so he gets away with everything so I don’t complain about him anymore what can I do? Please help thanks
Kimmyxoxo - 14-Sep-19 @ 1:02 PM
Anti social neighbour who has removed every wall in his house, tiled it and created what is now a giant echo chamber where you can here every tiny noise, even their conversations. His noisy kitchen is right under our bedroom with kitchen machinery noise vibrating through our house. The council are useless and give no help. I think he is deliberately trying to force us from our house with his actions.
Amy - 28-Aug-19 @ 11:53 AM
I live next to a cafe, and for 5hours a day people sit outside the cafe drinking coffee and are not talking they shout at each other I can hear them over the TV with the windows closed. I even measured the decibels at 85-90plus. Would I be able to get something done?
Jimbob - 24-Aug-19 @ 6:02 PM
I live across the road from a pub semi rural and every night we have to put up with loud music and people swearing etc they leave the doors wide open constant and refuse to close them even after 11pm can I put in a complaint?
Lo - 16-Aug-19 @ 8:39 PM
I live in a flat in Milton Keynes and I am bombarded daily with what seems to be door slamming, knocking on the wall and heavy footfall (like someone is stamping their feet while running/jogging). The neighbours even seem to stand by their window and start talking loudly so it penetrates my living room or bedroom and causes a disturbance. Interestingly the sounds can be heard in every single room so there is no way to escape it (I almost convinced myself I was being haunted by a poltergeist !!). I have spoken to my neighbours but it led to nothing and the noises continued. Like other people on this site have mentioned, it can affect my sleep badly and has a seriously detrimental affect on my wellbeing. I have found that using earplugs is an excellent way to reduce the impact from this environmental noise. Especially with sleep. I would recommend to anyone else who is also experiencing these problems to grab yourself some. You can get wax earplugs from most chemists, and industrial foam earplugs from most hardware stores ( I bought a pack of 50 from Screwfix ).
Bloody Ears - 14-Aug-19 @ 10:34 PM
I live in a flat in Milton Keynes and I am bombarded daily with what seems to be door slamming, knocking on the wall and heavy footfall (like someone is stamping their feet while running/jogging). The neighbours even seem to stand by their window and start talking loudly so it penetrates my living room or bedroom and causes a disturbance. Interestingly the sounds can be heard in every single room so there is no way to escape it (I almost convinced myself I was being haunted by a poltergeist !!). I have spoken to my neighbours but it led to nothing and the noises continued. Like other people on this site have mentioned, it can affect my sleep badly and has a seriously detrimental affect on my wellbeing. I have found that using earplugs is an excellent way to reduce the impact from this environmental noise. Especially with sleep. I would recommend to anyone else who is also experiencing these problems to grab yourself some. You can get wax earplugs from most chemists, and industrial foam earplugs from most hardware stores ( I bought a pack of 50 from Screwfix ).
Bloody Ears - 14-Aug-19 @ 10:23 PM
I live in a flat in Milton Keynes and I am bombarded daily with what seems to be door slamming, knocking on the wall and heavy footfall (like someone is stamping their feet while running/jogging). The neighbours even seem to stand by their window and start talking loudly so it penetrates my living room or bedroom and causes a disturbance. Interestingly the sounds can be heard in every single room so there is no way to escape it (I almost convinced myself I was being haunted by a poltergeist !!). I have spoken to my neighbours but it led to nothing and the noises continued. Like other people on this site have mentioned, it can affect my sleep badly and has a seriously detrimental affect on my wellbeing. I have found that using earplugs is an excellent way to reduce the impact from this environmental noise. Especially with sleep. I would recommend to anyone else who is also experiencing these problems to grab yourself some. You can get wax earplugs from most chemists, and industrial foam earplugs from most hardware stores ( I bought a pack of 50 from Screwfix ).
Bloody Ears - 14-Aug-19 @ 10:23 PM
Hi please could someone tell me what to do in this situation. Ever since I was diagnosised with ceoliac disease I have had trouble with sleeping due to stomach pain and a foggy head and ibs as well as abdominal migraines. I sleep at the front of my house right opposite where there is work being done to a neighbours house. This means that I am the only person in my house being woken amd since I only manage to fall asleep at around 2am every night being woken up this early every day on my summer holiday is being to affect how I act and making me feel especially run down. Due to it being the summer I sleep with my window open and I think that I should be allowed to do this without being woke up and I think that I should have the right to leave my window open. Please could someone respond and help me with my problem since I think that it’s not fair to allow someone ill to have to deal with these conditions
talulah - 7-Aug-19 @ 9:09 AM
My next door neighbourat 17 hindon walk is noisy and is out of controlthey like to bully me and likes to cause mischiefand talk bad aboutme to try to get me in troubleI tried callingpoliceon them policesaid they don't deal with this type of stuff and the guy is gettingaway with discrimination and I need you to stop them becausethey out of control and it's been happeningsince January 2018 All the way till now and I feel depressedand sufferingfrom anxietybecauseof them always doing trouble! Please sort them out becausethe aggressive bangingdoing my head in now
Feeling blue - 14-Jul-19 @ 5:31 PM
Noisy rented out residential property in Chitterfield Gate Sipson where the tenants are using noisy machinery to work on cars for hours every day late into the night. Like living next to a factory with the noise and paint fumes.
Li - 9-Jul-19 @ 9:07 PM
I live in a flat in a block. Neighbours upstairs never have their curtains open. They are closed which is odd,and they have achild. The woman and the child run from room to room flicking lights on and off,moving heavy rumbling furniture. In the mornings and in the day they squek a VERY loud door to and fro as if deliberate above my bedroom. this wakes me at 6amish and goes on til 7.30am,then it will continue on and off throughout the day and sometimes late night. Ive told my landlords,they have spoken about maybe getting recording equiptment in. Ive written a polite letter,,they started again straight after it went through their door. they dont know me at all,i have shouted but find it hard not to say anything. i think it could be illness but dont know if they cant help it or its deliberate!!. The flicking lights goes on all the time,and they run from room to room for long periods of time. Then i see the woman go out looking like theres nothing wrong. She does not look or act odd if you see her. Their Asian looking. Im at my wits end ,ive got health problems and its making me feel ill now!!. Please acn someone answer with advice for me,,i need help. Their selfish horrible people it seems and i dont know whats wrong. Thanks
Flower - 29-Jun-19 @ 10:31 PM
Hello there, I have this neighbour who moved in about 3 or four years ago to the neighbourhood, and whenever we get a sunny week end he starts his ridiculously loud bass music sometimes up until 1 AM, I am simply sick and tired of having to listen to his ridiculous music, we wait all year for the sun to make an appearance and as soon as it shines this guy comes out with his extremely loud music, I can't enjoy sitting in my garden, I can't even enjoy sitting inside my house his bass and drum beats vibrate in my entire house, impossible to ignore, even though he is two houses down the road, I have spoken to him, his answer that he pays his taxes, as if we don't. Now, it has come to the point where I have no choice, either to complainor move out, the law is very very lenient, it's not even a law it's an act, meaning they can act if they feel like it.
Adbask - 29-Jun-19 @ 8:59 PM
HI there all can anyone tell me if its fair for my neighbour to wash his car and his 2 sons cars with a jetwash on a Sunday morning at 8am? He washes the cars all week to obsessed is what I call it, but don't wake up the whole street every Sunday. Can I complain?
CLYDE - 23-Jun-19 @ 8:55 AM
We live in council property, neighbour out the back of house bought there council home thet think that this entitled them to make as much noise early hours as they like, today theyv erected 2 big tent things in there back garden which can only mean party this weekend and it will be loud, HELP , cant see the council coming out early hours to witness this event, and dont know if police could help, thing is this is a council estate, all surrounding houses have young children trying to sleep including ours, so desperate dont know what to do.
Mightymouse - 20-Jun-19 @ 9:26 PM
Ok winge winge winge old age setting in and I'm becoming my dad! Still, I had an ounce of respect for neighbors when I was a kid and still attempt to have now but it is difficult. Because they have their kids out bouncing on a bouncy castle and bouncing a large ball in their garden at 10pm. My daughter is a couple of years older at 11 and was in bed at 8 although not asleep from the noise being made. That would be bad enough but the screaming on top is Vile! They have an outside security light that points up in the air directly into our bedrooms. Yes we've bought blackout curtains but it isn't perfect and anyone breaking into their yard would not be seen because it's still in the dark only the sky is lit up so perhaps their fearing alien attacks?? Their little darlings also spend some of their social time teasing our dog out of their bedroom window. My dog is now constantly looking up at their window his nerves on edge and barking at any movement. Of course the answer would be to have a word. The issue is,the guys an ex jail bird and apparently punches people who cross him! So if anyone can offer some form of advice that could possibly begin to let us in our house live a normal life and do things like sleep when we're tired or leave a bedroom window open when it's a hot summers night,I would be eternally grateful. I haven't mentioned their dog barking have I yet. Well I just have and yes that goes on at anytime of night, recently at 2.30am and guess what? One of the little darlings opened the door to let it in!
Ivor biggun - 3-Jun-19 @ 10:08 PM
About two weeks ago on a Friday afternoon our neighbour played an entire opera at full volume for around over an hour. It was so loud that the main part of the sopranos voice in the music sounded like screeming it was so high and loud and shrill. My husband and I do quite like opera but this noise was very invasive and quite disturbing. My husband went round next door to ask her, politely, to lower the volume of the music...which could be heard along the street too....(this was in the next door on the raisedground floor flat in the adjoining house; our flat is on the same level, raised ground floor) flat).She did lower the music a bit and after a while the opera was finished. We thought that this would be the end of the incident. However, we arrived back at our flat after being away for two weeks and as we got out of our car the same lady, our neighbour, accosted my husband in the street berating him for coming to comlain to her about her music and stopping her enjoymentof it, she was really quite aggressive. She mentioned that that her neighbours upstairs to her |(her tenants) had also come down to complain to her and she was blaming my husband for this. We actually did not know this. She was so abusive that I said I would inform the council of her noise as we would not like this to happen again. The neighbour in question is not usually living in her flat as she has been renovating it for over 10 years. We do not want to have a problem with this neighbour, but I think we may have in the future as she was quite unpleasant towards us. I donot expect the council to be able to do anything about this incident but I would just like this complaint to be held on record in case there are further disputes involving antisocial noise. Our address is 18b Riggindale Road Streatham SW161QJ and the noisy neighbour lives at 20B Riggindale Road SW16 and also owns Flats B and C/D. Her name is Ms Mary Geary. We are quiet friendly people who get on with all of our other neighbours and this has been upsetting. your sincerely
Upset - 14-May-19 @ 10:34 AM
our neighbour is always playing loud music and its always the same italian music as she is italian and old she is a horrible person everytime she sees us out our garden she goes around slamming her door and her bin lids trying to intimiade us . she has complained constantly about us to our landlord to try and get her own way saying we make to much noise and that our rabbits make to much noise. in fact all we ever like to do is to sit out in our garden after we have finished work but she spoils it for us to do this. the latest thing she has taken to do is to place her music system at the back door and turn it up even louder . we have been to the noise abatment but they were not really any help, we really dont know what to do anymore as its really starting to stress me out and looking at moving but i feel that would be giving into her . any advice thanks
fee - 13-May-19 @ 8:21 PM
My idiot neighbour has taken to starting DIY projects after 10:30pm mostly cutting up metal in his back garden with an angle grinder. He’s a very unpleasant person so I’m not keen to speak to him directly, who are you supposed to call these days “out of hours” ? We no longer have a local police station and it wouldn’t seem appropriate to contact the national number for this type of complaint.
MickyB - 4-May-19 @ 10:45 PM
I have a neighbour that keeps chopping up big tree stumps & large branches with an axe 3m from my kitchen window, often weekday evenings & weekends. The noise & vibration is too much. I asked them to do it well away from my house at the end of their garden (about 12m away). So far they continue to do it near my kitchen window. I can't believe how selfish & antisocial people are these days.
Ivanian - 30-Apr-19 @ 7:30 AM
I have noisy neighbors.. there are 4 flats in our building and the ppl in one of the flats have led us an absolute dogs life for 8months... you just can't fathom the extent of stress, anger and exhaustion neighbors like this cause!! We have had to hound the council constantly as separate complaints for 8months for something to be done, but they finally issued a noise abatement order a wk ago, not that it's made a difference. My little girl sometimes has to complete a week of school on less than 15hours sleep, I have to just watch her sob in her bed ???? More efficient help should be available for non nuisance tenants in this situation. I am now preparing for another sleepless nite, ringing out of hours environmental health every hour, hoping to get assistance from police now that the abatement orders been issued.. we will see ??
Rix - 21-Apr-19 @ 8:49 PM
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