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Your Rights Under the Noise Act 1996

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 20 May 2018 | 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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[Add a Comment]
My2boys - Your Question:
We go to a church. The church has had a triangle peice of ground paved and fenced at the side, to allow 4boys under 10 to play outside. A neighbour keeps complaining they are playing, singing or tapping a football for 10 minutes each week. She has threatened to go to the council. Is she right to complain? Or is it ok for the children to freely okay.

Our Response:
It's unlikely the council will take action over this unless the play is occurring late at night (whcih we feel is unlikely).
ProblemNeighbours - 21-May-18 @ 3:25 PM
We go to a church. The church has had a triangle peice of ground paved and fenced at the side, to allow 4boys under 10 to play outside. A neighbour keeps complaining they are playing, singing or tapping a football for 10 minutes each week. She has threatened to go to the council. Is she right to complain? Or is it ok for the children to freely okay .
My2boys - 20-May-18 @ 6:55 PM
My neighbours moved from one property oppersite to next to me three Adultsmother an son daughter in three bed with two large dogs they hoover every 3 hours without fail on weekend sometimes more because dogs not locked up so much they run up down stairs most day as two work one doesnt but dogs are up down...Back door bangs which if you can picture is in our living room as our houses are back to front so what's on my wall shakes when they deside to loose these dogs out.....Ohh arguments every weekend girl screams throws swears smashs....I've spoke to mother but sort that's really not interested as they think there too good.... It's nightmare to sleep up down to toilet flushing chain when there's toilet up stairs but I'm sure it's for dogs foul they have to go somewhere at night this why they go hoover so often I've contacted rspca as they rarely go out it's cruel
English Rose - 9-May-18 @ 8:38 PM
Em - Your Question:
I live in a flat in town that is on the corner of the street. Two of the other corners are also flat building. But the fourth corner is a music bar. Every weekend they play very loud music (mostly live bands) till 1-2 in the morning. (This have even happened on weekdays too). Because it’s a bar they have an outdoor area that people are in and are very loud, they can be out till 5-6 in the morning. What are my rights here. I’ve been to the Council and environmental health and they just keep sending me back to each other.

Our Response:
Talk to your council's licensing department and ask for details of the music licence for the bar in question. If the bar is in breach of its licence then complain to that department. If you feel the licence is inappropriate because of the proximity of residential properties, contact your planning department and see what they recommend.
ProblemNeighbours - 8-May-18 @ 12:13 PM
We have put up with noisy neighbours for about 2 years now playing loud music at all hours they clearly have a sound system that is attached to the wall that blasts out bass. And no matter where you go in the house the bass just reverberates throughout we have spoke to them and at first they apologised then just carried on. We have been to council and kept a log like they asked and eventually the council sent a letter which worked for about 2 weeks and now it's worse than ever as it's hot all there Windows are open while they sit at the top of the garden inconsiderately blasting their music out all day. It's getting too much
N7DannyBoiN7 - 7-May-18 @ 10:26 AM
I live in a flat in town that is on the corner of the street. Two of the other corners are also flat building. But the fourth corner is a music bar. Every weekend they play very loud music (mostly live bands) till 1-2 in the morning. (This have even happened on weekdays too). Because it’s a bar they have an outdoor area that people are in and are very loud, they can be out till 5-6 in the morning. What are my rights here. I’ve been to theCounciland environmental health and they just keep sending me back to each other.
Em - 6-May-18 @ 12:01 AM
paula - Your Question:
I live in a ground floor flat and the woman above me has her washing machine on from.half 9 till gone midnight. it's right above my head and impossible to sleep. I tried a polite note and when that failed I went up to ask her but has made no difference. I have to be up at 4 every morning is there anything I can do to get this to stop.

Our Response:
Please follow the steps in the above article or those clearly numbered here
ProblemNeighbours - 2-May-18 @ 2:48 PM
Smith - Your Question:
My upstairs neighbour since moved in January 2017 has being doing diy EVERY SINGLE DAY for over hour at a time randomly between 8am and 1am next night. He has no respect for people. And hammers and drills in middle of the night.Its a high rise flat and all tenants told. To keep noise down after 10pm.Also many times very loud music. Local police won't do a thing, environmental health don't do anything other then make a log. Housing don't do anything. Right now it's 1am and all I hear is a rave going on very very loud vibrating the whole building. Nobody ever does anything. I've made over 740 complaints. I get 2 to 4 hours sleep at night these past few weeks

Our Response:
If environmental health asked you to make a log, have you done so? Have you got back in touch with them? They should follow it up.
ProblemNeighbours - 2-May-18 @ 10:34 AM
I live in a ground floor flat and the woman above me has her washing machine on from.half 9 till gone midnight. it's right above my head and impossible to sleep.i tried a polite note and when that failed I went up to ask her but has made no difference. I have to be up at 4 every morning is there anything I can do to get this to stop.
paula - 30-Apr-18 @ 10:22 PM
My neighbours below me hoover every morning at 6am (including weekends) and they give every excuse to say that they can’t do it any other time, I’m extremely exhausted from waking up at 6am every morning
Pixie - 29-Apr-18 @ 1:49 PM
My upstairs neighbour since moved in January 2017 has being doing diy EVERY SINGLE DAY for over hour at a time randomly between 8am and 1am next night. He has no respect for people. And hammers and drills in middle of the night. Its a high rise flat and all tenants told. To keep noise down after 10pm. Also many times very loud music. Local police won't do a thing, environmental health don't do anything other then make a log. Housing don't do anything. Right now it's 1am and all I hear is a rave going on very very loud vibrating the whole building. Nobody ever does anything. I've made over 740 complaints... I get 2 to 4 hours sleep at night these past few weeks
Smith - 29-Apr-18 @ 12:45 AM
We have neighbours who teach music every day including the weekend. They also play until 10pm some days. We have popped in and asked them to turn it down but little changes. What are our options?
Rogee - 23-Apr-18 @ 9:54 PM
We have lived in this semi-detached house for 8 months. We have a neighbour to our right side (not attached, but their garden backs onto our house and garden) we have already had to contact the council due to their dog being left outside barking continuously, this was fairly successful in sorting out. They had a New Years party in their garden this year and it was very loud until about 3am.. in the end other neighbours were also fed up and shouted at them to turn the music off. Now it's summer, they have about 6 kids between the ages of 3 and 8? screaming, shouting, whining and crying very loudly in their garden, and they have moved their trampoline (what they play on and makethe most noise on, right next to our house) We were woken abruptly at 8 am on a sunny Sunday morning (windows open as its hot!) by these kids shouting, screaming and crying on the trampoline and generally in their garden. We think this is unacceptable, will the council do something about this as they've already had notice from the council about their dog continuously barking? It appears this will go on all summer if left, they are spoiling our enjoyment of our home and garden.
Louise - 22-Apr-18 @ 9:28 AM
My neighbor swore out of her window after my dog barked (in my garden) at another barking dog (not in my garden). This occurred at 2250hrs. Does she have the right to do this or is their a time my dog can’t bark in the garden after?
Kaylee - 21-Apr-18 @ 12:19 AM
Nasia - Your Question:
Hello,I just moved in a new place and there is a neighbour playing the piano every weekend that I need to sleep and rest and wakes me up. He usually starts around 7.30am. Can I do anything? Thank you.

Our Response:
Pop around and have a word first of all. Ask if they could wait until say 9am before playing the piano at the weekends. If that doesn't work, pop them a note (Our letter templates section might help ) . If all fails try environmental health.
ProblemNeighbours - 18-Apr-18 @ 10:34 AM
Loz - Your Question:
Hi I live above a row of shops and the food shop has deliveries at 6am which isnt usually a problem but they then pull a metal crate accross the front of the shop which is under our windows I have contacted the store numerous times and always stops temporary but then the next week straight back too it.

Our Response:
There may not be much you can do about this as it's one of the downsides of living directly above a shop. Try contacting your environmental health officer to see if there's anything that can be done.
ProblemNeighbours - 17-Apr-18 @ 2:45 PM
Hi i live above a row of shops and the food shop has deliveries at 6am which isnt usually a problem but they then pull a metal crate accross the front of the shop which is under our windows i have contacted the store numerous times and always stops temporary but then the next week straight back too it.
Loz - 17-Apr-18 @ 7:05 AM
Hi, I live on the first floor of a 2 story apartment block. I have a 2 year old who has a routine of bed at 7pm wakes at 7am. I work 3 days a week so I’m home 4 days a week. My neighbour beneath complains about my son playing and has asked me to keep him quite until at least 11am. This is impossible. Any advice would be much appreciated
Sam - 15-Apr-18 @ 4:40 PM
Hello, I just moved in a new place and there is a neighbour playing the piano every weekend that I need to sleep and rest and wakes me up. He usually starts around 7.30am. Can I do anything? Thank you.
Nasia - 15-Apr-18 @ 8:06 AM
@ishi Except they're not possessed though, are they? Because adults understand that people don't get possessed. You 12?
Ishithemoron - 12-Apr-18 @ 9:19 AM
Richard - Your Question:
I live in terrece house with parents I two days I have to be up for work at 5 to get into town for 7:30am I have new neighbour that likes to listen and invites friends around to watch heavy metal music dvds up very loudsometimes it can go on until early hrs off morning one of days it went on until 1am-2pm in morning and I had to get up early for work. What can I do the walls are thin aswell he also slams door so things fall off my shelf in my bedroom it really annoys me as he has no respect for others

Our Response:
If you feel comfortable talking to them do so - if not you could consider dropping them a note or a more formal letter. Our letter template will help with this. If that fails consider reporting it to your environmental health officer. They will consider action if the noise is regular and occurs after 11pm at night.
ProblemNeighbours - 11-Apr-18 @ 2:21 PM
I live in terrece house with parents i two days i have to be up for work at 5 to get into town for 7:30am i have new neighbour that likes to listen and invites friends around to watch heavy metal music dvds up very loudsometimes it can go on until early hrs off morning one of days it went on until 1am-2pm in morning and i had to get up early for work. What can i do the walls are thin aswell he also slams door so things fall off my shelf in my bedroom it really annoys me as he has no respect for others
Richard - 10-Apr-18 @ 8:01 PM
I am a private tenant and live with my teenage son in a terraced house. The walls are quite thin and we hear our neighbours frequently. They are a family of 5 including 3 children under 7. The parents frequently shout and swear at the children and there doesn’t seem to be any bedtime routine. The children are screaming and shouting together, running about and banging and they have a tv or computer games on loudly. I appreciate that children can be loud particularly 3 young children in a small house but the noise continues to past midnight keeping me awake. I have to be up at 6 for work and work with children all day so need to be properly rested to to do my job fully. We have only lived here 5 months and after hearing how they speak to their children don’t feel comfortable trying to talk to them about it, what can I do to help me get a decent nights sleep?
Exhausted - 9-Apr-18 @ 1:14 AM
Advice please Live in a semi. The neighbours joined on have split leaving the husband with his two young children and teenage sons at the weekends. It’s hell everyday. Banging,playing football indoors,shouting, and some days it’s like a football match in there house chanting etc. I’m ill and honestly don’t need this They have broken adjoining fence playing football in the tiniest garden imaginable footballs come over every 5 mins in summer that’s no lie!Loud music etc etc. Can’t approach them as just damn rude. We have a beautiful house but feel like selling up.
Ceri1950 - 31-Mar-18 @ 9:22 PM
Hi, I live in a second floor in the city center so I am aware that I have to endure some noise. But we have a pub nearby and from Thursday to Sunday the noise of the music until 2:00, 3:00 and sometimes later is unbearable, it is altering my sleep hours, provoking me insomnia and being tired all day. I know that the person who lived here before complained about this situation but she was ignored.
Mushu - 31-Mar-18 @ 12:05 PM
Lavy - Your Question:
Hi I have a six year old daughter. I live above a row of shops and one of the shops has being refurbed I'm trying to find out what the hours are by law that they can work up till as sometimes work is going on till 9.30-10 o'clock which is disturbing my daughter's sleep any help would be really grateful

Our Response:
In general the noise/nuisance rules apply after 11pm and before 7am. If it's just a refurbishment, it's a short term thing, it's unlikely the council will take action in view of the times you state.
ProblemNeighbours - 13-Mar-18 @ 1:57 PM
Hi, we are living in block of 4 flats (groundfloor). Above us is living young family with 2 years old doughter. We are here 2 years now and we have really enough. They are music lovers and every day we need to listen noise from they subwoofer which is very annoying. We complain many times about the noise. We even invite them to us so they can hear the noise what they generate. After first complaint they moved subwoofer from the floor up to shelf so my celling and lamp is not vibrating any more but still the noise is not acceptable. After many more complaints they still listing music very lound and they do not care anymore. Their answer is that they owning the flat and they can do everything what they want in their home and if we have any problems we can call police. After 2 years of nightmare my wife had nervous breakdown. She doesn't want life here anymore. She is planning to move out to mum saying that buying this flat was the biggest mistake of the life. We called police last Sunday. That was first time in 2 years and now is worse. After the police left the guy from upstairs starts shouting, jumping, banging, throwing some things on the floor and playing music much louder. They are always quiet after 10pm. We can't complain. We have poor soundproof insulation here. We can hear almost everything - footsteps, conversations even snoring at night time. I know we need to live with that king of noise. I am not asking them sitting all day and reading books but loud music now is too much for us. They do not see any problem. I do not have nearly 10000 pounds to soundproof cellings. Specially if the company cant guarantee me to resolve problem with noise. All depends from building construction becouse sound can be transmited by walls. What we can do? Do we have any rights if they are noisy just during the day?
Sly - 11-Mar-18 @ 1:30 AM
Hi I have a six year old daughter. I live above a row of shops and one of the shops has being refurbed I'm trying to find out what the hours are by law that they can work up till as sometimes work is going on till 9.30-10 o'clock which is disturbing my daughter's sleep any help would be really grateful
Lavy - 10-Mar-18 @ 9:24 PM
mintiesmum - Your Question:
Im afraid you are wrong regarding children in communal areas such as gardens. where I live children are banned from playing in communal areas they must be confined to the property they reside in unless leaving or entering the premises.they got banned by freeholder because they left toys all over the grass and were noisy which upset residents.

Our Response:
Yours is a specifc case and of course private owners or landlords can impose their own rules. Usually if there are communal gardens, all tenants,(as the comment you're referring to was about Housing Association property) including children are allowed to use them.
ProblemNeighbours - 5-Mar-18 @ 3:45 PM
im afraid you are wrong regarding children in communal areas such as gardens. where i live children are banned from playing in communal areas they must be confined to the property they reside in unless leaving or entering the premises.they got banned by freeholder because they left toys all over the grass and were noisy which upset residents.
mintiesmum - 3-Mar-18 @ 7:34 AM
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