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Your Rights Under the Noise Act 1996

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 19 Sep 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]
My neighbour has a small 2yr old child who ever night is running up and down in the living roomin their house i have had the noise monitors from the environmental health 3 times but they haven't done anything I have spoken with her but she said I was racist and phoned the police they have said that if I have any more trouble to contact them but I havent got much faith in them. This is really getting me down which has caused me to have high BP can anyone please help has both landlords will not get involved
Gill1970 - 19-Sep-18 @ 8:57 PM
I've now live in my house 7yrs the noise level from my next door neighbour has in creased gradually to which I now have wardrobes doors been slammed draws been slammed front door also I've filled in countless forms to my local council and have nothing its making me so ill its even waking my daughter who is still at school what should I do police is the last resort
Aimes - 15-Sep-18 @ 11:21 PM
My neighbor is a nuisance more than a year. Submitted a report to the bury council, police ,landlord.Without result,still it takes.It is private tenat.What can I do more? who can help me?
kris - 9-Sep-18 @ 4:18 AM
I live in a first floor flat and a couple moved in the ground floor flat a few months ago. First, it started off with police banging on their door ever since they moved in and eventually they arrested the woman of the couple (looking for her) and this was causing me to have panic/anxiety attacks and insomnia - the incident stopped me from sleeping for weeks on end because I knew the police would be back again banging and looking for them. It makes me feel like a criminal even though I've done nothing wrong! I found the incident very intimidating. The guy that lives there constantly slams the front door and his patio door which shakes my entire flat every time he does it! Then on top of that he constantly bangs every door inside the flat which sometimes wakes me up as again it shakes my flat. He constantly blasts music to the point I can't hear a programme I am trying to watch - I have to sit and wait stressed out until he stops so I can continue what I want to do in my own flat! The music also interferes with my studies as I am completing a Master's Degree at the moment and I can't concentrate due to the stress and lack of sleep! He has another woman staying there who I know he has not checked with the housing association and they're constantly shouting at each other or arguing. Quite frankly they are just annoying. I can also hear everything they do, it's as if they are in my flat! I can hear them walking around because they still have no carpets so everything they do has an echo! I can hear them going to the bathroom - just everything, it's revolting. To top it off I have seen them buying drugs on their own doorstep and have more than just me as a witness. It will be past 11 at night and it sounds like they're constantly moving furniture around? It's weird. I have reported everything to the housing association and they haven't done a single thing!! What else can I do?? Is it an incident I can report to the police or the council? And is it going to go that far that it will have to go to court because I see no other options?! Stressed out to the max!
Rhi - 8-Sep-18 @ 12:28 PM
Builders have been in Tuesday to Saturday. The leaseholder above didn’t tell me there was going to loud drilling scraping and banging. I have high frequency hearing loss and now I have earache. Builders also said they would be finished by Friday.
Vicky - 1-Sep-18 @ 9:04 AM
Hi! We recently moved into a semi-detached flat, but it's been an old house split in two literally down the middle. We didn't hear any noise or about any complaints when we were viewing. A week after we moved in (and signed our 12-month tenancy) we started hearing our neighbours like they were in the same room with us no matter where we were in the house. My husband went and talked with them and they said it's their 2-yer old boy doing all the noise and the guy has to wake up at 6:30am to go to work. But the stumping can't be from the boy, we can hear so well that we know the husband is stumping. After a while, we went and asked politely if they can keep it down as I am on my last stretch of dissertation work. They kept it down for about two weeks and now they are louder than ever. We can even hear them pee and at times do no 2 very loudly because their bathroom is attached to our bedroom and living room. We talked with the landlord trough our agency and they came to assess our walls at least to have our bedroom wall soundproof but they eventually said they can't do it in the end. We also don't know if it's our neighbour's fault because they do have a small child and they want to play with him and then get ready really early to go to work. What can we do? Is there a legal way to get out of our contract or reduce our rent at least if we are going to put up with this? Thank you, your help will be appreciated.
audrey92 - 29-Aug-18 @ 7:55 PM
I’ve just moved into a property (5 weeks ago) and since the day we’ve moved in our next door neighbour (terrace houses) has been playing loud music which literally thumps through the walls, I don’t mind so much at weekends but both me and my partner work full time and the must is still pumping at 21:30! What can I do? I want to be a good and friendly neighbour but frankly it’s 5 weeks to long. I’ve knocked three or four times now and he simply doesn’t answer. What do I do?
Ally - 28-Aug-18 @ 9:08 PM
It's been 2 months now that my neighbour next door is refurbishing her house. Builders are even coming on Saturday all day and obviously make noise all day . I just wonder if it is okay to work over the weekend. It's annoying to hear a constant noise.We can't relax at home .
Vanes - 18-Aug-18 @ 2:22 PM
Hello, My neighbour has complained to the local authority about me listening to loud music for 6mins in my kitchen with my door and window open.He recorded my music from his garden .I have been informed that this could be classed as a noise nuisance even through this was at 7pm in the evening.I am at my wits end.I’m a good tenant but now feel I am not allowed to enjoy music at all. Please advise
Lou - 15-Aug-18 @ 12:04 PM
Confused - Your Question:
Our neighbour came in to our garden yesterday to complain about the "screams" of my 2 year old son. As you can imagine being 2 he is prone to having tantrums but is by no means an unusually loud child. We were playing in the garden laughing and chasing due to having chickenpox we can not go anywhere currently. What is an acceptable decibel level for children's playing to be at. We live on a very main road that is noisy and it's hard to believe my child is consistently noisier than that. He can shriek when playing but it's not constant or unusually loud. I want to be considerate and I also want to allow my children to have fun in their own garden.

Our Response:
Environmental Health will not investigate the sound of children playing in a garden or house unless it's at night/early morning or particularly loud and frequent.
ProblemNeighbours - 13-Aug-18 @ 12:27 PM
Our neighbour came in to our garden yesterday to complain about the "screams" of my 2 year old son. As you can imagine being 2 he is prone to having tantrums but is by no means an unusually loud child. We were playing in the gardenlaughing and chasing due to having chickenpox we can not go anywhere currently. What is an acceptable decibel level for children's playing to be at. We live on a very main road that is noisy and it's hard to believe my child is consistently noisier than that. He can shriek when playing but it's not constant or unusually loud. I want to be considerate and I also want to allow my children to have fun in their own garden.
Confused - 12-Aug-18 @ 3:17 PM
Pop - Your Question:
I live on the 2nd floor of a 3 story flat and on the ground floor is a fitness gym. They flip tractor tyres at 6am and sometimes gone 10:30pm. This literally shakes my bed and wakes my self, my husband and our baby. I can't imagine how it is for those directly above them. I tried to call them and let them know how loud it was and all I got in response was "well we open at 6am". What can we do?

Our Response:
Talk to the council's planning department and ask what planning permission was given for the gym and whether any conditions are in place. If the gym is in breach of any conditions they will take action.You can also talk to environmental health as detailed in the above article.
ProblemNeighbours - 10-Aug-18 @ 10:25 AM
Sophie - Your Question:
There is a car sales garage on the residential street I live in clanking and shouting and making noise almost all day long every day seven days a week long hours from 8 in the morning to sometimes very late evening hours, are businesses in a residential area allowed to do this? And who do I go to to make a complaint or raise the issue with please? Is there anyway I can see the allowed hours of business they are entitled too?

Our Response:
Talk to your local plannign department to see whether there ar restricitions .
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Aug-18 @ 3:42 PM
There is a car sales garage on the residential street I live in clanking and shouting and making noise almost all day long every day seven days a week long hours from 8 in the morning to sometimes very late evening hours, are businesses in a residential area allowed to do this? And who do I go to to make a complaint or raise the issue with please? Is there anyway I can see the allowed hours of business they are entitled too?
Sophie - 8-Aug-18 @ 8:49 AM
I live on the 2nd floor of a 3 story flat and on the ground floor is a fitness gym. They flip tractor tyres at 6am and sometimes gone 10:30pm. This literally shakes my bed and wakes my self, my husband and our baby. I can't imagine how it is for those directly above them. I tried to call them and let them know how loud it was and all I got in response was "well we open at 6am". What can we do?
Pop - 8-Aug-18 @ 7:07 AM
Squid - Your Question:
Our neighbour hoovers every day including weekends at 7.45 am. Although most weekdays I'm up, my husband has to work some late nights and summer holidays it is loud.Is this too early? What can we do?

Our Response:
Vacuuming itself may not be deemed unreasonable by environmental health, although on a Sunday it could be seen as unreasonable. There are no specific legal limits for DIY type noise but most councils suggest that loud/excessive noises from machinery/DIY in a dwelling are unreasonable before 9am on a Saturday or before 10.00am on a Sunday.
ProblemNeighbours - 7-Aug-18 @ 2:13 PM
Tiggs - Your Question:
Hello. I'm at my wits end with the downstairs neighbours. 2 women.i Came across this Web page. My issue is constant door slamming can be up to 6 times a min and every room they enter and exit. It happens all weekend and early hours of the mornings. It's really starting to grate me. Been going on a while but but it's more offen than not now. I feel like I should move.

Our Response:
Have you talked to them about this? It may be that they do not realise they are slamming the doors. It's good that they close doors behind them (it's very energy efficient), perhaps they could invest in soft closers for the doors etc. If it continues, follow the advice in the above article.
ProblemNeighbours - 7-Aug-18 @ 12:17 PM
Bigturk - Your Question:
Yesterday we had a party and it was all afternoon and evening, we were talking and music was on. At 11 we turned music down and stayed in Garde talking as a family. Next door moaned but he had window wide open. If he shut it he wouldn't of heard us. Where do we stand with this. We have a party every 6 months if that. No else moans in neibourhood. Can you help pls

Our Response:
If it's a one off situation there really isn't much the neighbour can do about it. If the noise occurs frequently and continues later into the night, your neighbours may be able to escalate this to environmental health who will investigate. Unfortunately during this recent hot weather spell, people are having to sleep with windows open simply to stay cool; the result is that noises are more noticeable.
ProblemNeighbours - 7-Aug-18 @ 10:53 AM
Our neighbour hoovers every day including weekends at 7.45 am. Although most weekdays I'm up, my husband has to work some late nights and summer holidays it is loud. Is this too early? What can we do?
Squid - 6-Aug-18 @ 7:49 AM
Hello. I'm at my wits end with the downstairs neighbours. 2 women.i Came across this Web page. My issue is constant door slamming can be up to 6 times a min and every room they enter and exit. It happens all weekend and early hours of the mornings. It's really starting to grate me. Been going on a while but but it's more offen than not now. I feel like I should move.
Tiggs - 5-Aug-18 @ 4:41 PM
Yesterday we had a party and it was all afternoon and evening, we were talking and music was on. At 11 we turned music downand stayed in Gardetalking as a family. Next door moaned but he had window wide open. If he shut it he wouldn't of heard us. Where do we stand with this. We have a party every 6 months if that. No else moans in neibourhood. Can you help pls
Bigturk - 5-Aug-18 @ 10:25 AM
JCook - Your Question:
So if a kid is playing basketball in his backgarden in the UK and the sound of the ball when it hits the ground is annoying, is there any right to stop him from making that noise?

Our Response:
Not really. If the noise is persistent and is late at night or very early in the morning, environmental health may be willing to act.
ProblemNeighbours - 1-Aug-18 @ 3:04 PM
So if a kid is playing basketball in his backgarden in the UK and the sound of the ball when it hits the ground is annoying, is there any right to stop him from making that noise?
JCook - 31-Jul-18 @ 12:32 PM
Music from loud speakers outside home apparent permission from council and letter distribution about event but i do not recall being contacted asking if it was ok to do this. Im pretty sure that under some act it is not right to do this unless there is permission from every resident in the area. Am i right?
Sophia - 26-Jul-18 @ 12:58 PM
David- Your Question:
I have a neighbor that plays the saxophone with windows open most evenings until around 9pm.It wouldn’t be so bad but it sounds awful and I’m sure that after 6 months of every evening they should have picked up a note and worked out how to play it in tune. But seriously, it is really quite loud and constant, every evening for months. I’m wondering if there was a way to resolve this without confrontation.Thank you

Our Response:
Could you drop them a note asking them to vary the times of playingand also to close the window? Or to occasionally play elsewhere? Following that you may have to be a little bit more forceful and suggest you might reprt it environmental health.
ProblemNeighbours - 25-Jul-18 @ 3:28 PM
My next door neighbour (who is quite old and likes to sit in his garden all day everyday) has just knocked on my door fuming that he can hear my music? Said his had enough. It’s 1oclock in the afternoon 30degrees outside and I’m in my loft extension painting with the windows open. My music is in no way loud whatsoever. I could very easily have a conversation next to it. He said he will call some environmental people and they will take my stereo because he simply does not want to hear it weather it’s loud or not? I mean? What do you do? I told him I’ll turn it down but told him I didn’t really understand the problem as it’s the middle of the day and not blaring out? He told me to shut my windows and doors? Which I’m obviously not going to. I have a right just like he does? Is it me or is he being unreasonable?
Kirsty - 25-Jul-18 @ 1:12 PM
Dan - Your Question:
We have neighbours who like to play music, drink and shout in their back garden until the early hours. Last night, a Saturday night it was until 4.30am. This happens almost every Friday and Saturday night when it's not raining, as they come home from drinking in town and then continue to drink, be loud and play music in the garden until usually 2 - 3am. We've put up with this for around 5 years, whether it's the parents in the house or their two sons. I work most Saturdays and every other Sunday and now it's starting to really upset my sleep pattern. If I'm not asleep by the time they get home from town and start what is essentially a garden party, then I'm up till they pack it in, which as mentioned earlier was 4.30am last night giving me about 5 hours worth of sleep until I had to get up for work. I do plan to have a word with them after work today about this, though I expect to be told to p*ss off. What official action can I take if this continues after I've spoken to them?

Our Response:
Have a look at our 6 step guide for an idea of the various things to try and the stage at which to try them.
ProblemNeighbours - 25-Jul-18 @ 11:53 AM
I have a neighbor that plays the saxophone with windows open most evenings until around 9pm. It wouldn’t be so bad but it sounds awful and I’m sure that after 6 months of every evening they should have picked up a note and worked out how to play it in tune. But seriously, it is really quite loud and constant, every evening for months. I’m wondering if there was a way to resolve this without confrontation. Thank you
David - 24-Jul-18 @ 8:53 PM
We have neighbours who like to play music, drink and shout in their back garden until the early hours.Last night, a Saturday night it was until 4.30am.This happens almost every Friday and Saturday night when it's not raining, as they come home from drinking in town and then continue to drink, be loud and play music in the garden until usually 2 - 3am.We've put up with this for around 5 years, whether it's the parents in the house or their two sons.I work most Saturdays and every other Sunday and now it's starting to really upset my sleep pattern.If I'm not asleep by the time they get home from town and start what is essentially a garden party, then I'm up till they pack it in, which as mentioned earlier was 4.30am last night giving me about 5 hours worth of sleep until I had to get up for work. I do plan to have a word with them after work today about this, though I expect to be told to p*ss off.What official action can I take if this continues after I've spoken to them?
Dan - 22-Jul-18 @ 11:49 AM
I work nights and was wondering if I have the same rights as people who work day shifts to have peace while I sleep? For years I've missed sleep and feel close to the end. If it's not a neighbour always doing a DIY project during weekends and holidays it's another who has spent months(yes months)laying a few slabs in his small 4X4 meter garden. Then I have the neighbours directly in front of me whose kid likes to play football in a garden that has an extension and a trampoline, so has no space and ends up hitting the wooden fence quite often. All this noise has kept me from sleeping for years and I'm starting to have chest pains. My diet is poor because I'm always so tired and have no energy to prepare food, exercise, or do pretty much anything. I'm lucky if I get 5 hours sleep before waking up late for work at 3am, home by about 8am, 7 days a week, each day just repeats. Is there anything I can do? If my partially deaf next door neighbour is watching TV I use my laptop with earbuds to play a soundtrack of a bass noise. This lets me sleep but can be uncomfortable. I wish I had the energy to find a new job and do the things I need to but it seems like it's a vicious cycle and because I'm the only one impacted nobody else gives a damn.
Joe - 17-Jul-18 @ 6:10 PM
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