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Your Rights Under the Noise Act 1996

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 22 Jul 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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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
I have a neighbour who start doing the renovation recently, they starts at early morning, i.e. 6ish on weekday, 7ish on weekend which is really noisy. Cause it's next to my bed room and I couldn't stay, it drives me crazy. After I spoke to them, they become better, not start at 6am anymore, but still 7ish.... Is there any other action I can do?
Hyde - 6-Jul-18 @ 8:12 AM
Mathamathilda - Your Question:
Hi, I go to bed relatively early 9pm, because I have an early start in the morning, but my new neighbours have three children who play out until 10pm and often later. The children are only young 3 years to approximately 10 years and what seems to be happening is that the other neighbour is now letting their four children play out late as well. They are running on the road, up and down the road past all the houses shouting and screaming. It is really affecting my sleep because I am getting stressed by the high pitched screams. The parents take absolutely no interest in any of the children (both sets of neighbours) so I doubt there is much point speaking to them. In fact the last person who challenge the kids about a different issue ended up getting head butted and he was a pensioner. Any help or advice would be appreciated.

Our Response:
This the time of year when children are playing outside later in the evenings because of the light nights. The fine weather we've had recently is also making a difference. If the noise continues past 10pm on a regular basis, contact environmental health as advised in the article.
ProblemNeighbours - 5-Jul-18 @ 2:25 PM
I live in second floor with 3 kids 7-5 and one and half years. My kids are quite but some times they are running in the hallway and I have new neighborhood they are knocking on the floor if my kids ran at the daytime or even my little son craying at night or some one going to the bathroom. They making noise more than us. What can I do.
Rashwia - 5-Jul-18 @ 11:15 AM
Hi, I go to bed relatively early 9pm, because I have an early start in the morning, but my new neighbours have three children who play out until 10pm and often later.The children are only young 3 years to approximately 10 years and what seems to be happening is that the other neighbour is now letting their four children play out late as well.They are running on the road, up and down the road past all the houses shouting and screaming.It is really affecting my sleep because I am getting stressed by the high pitched screams.The parents take absolutely no interest in any of the children (both sets of neighbours) so I doubt there is much point speaking to them.In fact the last person who challenge the kids about a different issue ended up getting head butted and he was a pensioner.Any help or advice would be appreciated.
Mathamathilda - 2-Jul-18 @ 12:45 PM
DLR - Your Question:
Hi I have noise neighborhoods they are often out side in the garden talking until 2,3 or even 6am in the morning it's kinda becoming a problem now after 7 years Friday night and Saturday night is fine but a week day when everyone has work the next day. Had similar issue with previous neighbors who lived in the same property playing music for 10 hours straight with the speakers in the garden. They got 2 environmental health letters and they moved out.

Our Response:
Your environmental health officer should be able to take action here.
ProblemNeighbours - 27-Jun-18 @ 3:10 PM
Hi I have noise neighborhoods they are often out side in the garden talking until 2,3 or even 6am in the morning it's kinda becoming a problem now after 7 years Friday night and Saturday night is fine but a week day when everyone has work the next day. Had similar issue with previous neighbors who lived in the same property playing music for 10 hours straight with the speakers in the garden. They got 2 environmental health letters and they moved out.
DLR - 27-Jun-18 @ 12:02 PM
Lomin - Your Question:
Hi need some advice I'm really struggling with lost sleep and currently pregnant I have a neighbour next to me that comes in from work late sometimes with friends I have a neighbour above me that wakes me between 6am and 7.30am drilling banging or shouting at his pet most mornings which drives me mad the most and sometimes a neighbour above that that sings loudly drunk at night which I can hear even though he's second floor and I'm ground floor. I also have people gather in the corridor outside my flat door talking loudly or slamming doors sometimes at night too as they are about to leave or as they come in what can I do? I'm at my wits end about it have put up with it for 5 years but struggling so much now with it.

Our Response:
Have you contacted environmental health? Your landlord?
ProblemNeighbours - 25-Jun-18 @ 11:36 AM
Hi need some advice I'm really struggling with lost sleep and currently pregnant I have a neighbour next to me that comes in from work late sometimes with friends I have a neighbour above me that wakes me between 6am and 7.30am drilling banging or shouting at his pet most mornings which drives me mad the most and sometimes a neighbour above that that sings loudly drunk at night which I can hear even though he's second floor and I'm ground floor. I also have people gather in the corridor outside my flat door talking loudly or slamming doors sometimes at night too as they are about to leave or as they come in what can i do? I'm at my wits end about it have put up with it for 5 years but struggling so much now with it.
Lomin - 22-Jun-18 @ 8:21 AM
Hi, I live in a 2 bed maisonette, my bedroom is downstairs and the second bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and lounge are all upstairs. Yesterday at 9.40pm the residents upstairs to me (their maisonette is the opposite to mine) decided to play music so loud that I could hear it in my bedroom, my 12 year old daughter had to sleep in my room as the music was too loud for her to sleep. I have to get up for work at 6 and work from 7-17.30 my next door neighbour also was disturbed by the noise as it woke her young daughter up....I've knocked the door but the noise it too loud they haven't answered. It's currently 00.30 and it's still on....I've written everything down.....what do I do next??
fedup - 20-Jun-18 @ 12:31 AM
Hi, I’m a 30 year old female living in a first floor purpose built flat with my husband. The downstairs neighbor is quite strange and intimidating and keeps coming up to ask us what the noise and “thuds” are in the house whenever we’re just moving around, if we drop something, knock/trip up, he’s there within 30 seconds knocking at our door!! I know that the last owner sold as he had trouble with this guy as he kept complaining the guy in my flat had a “squeaky desk chair”, I’m literally living on eggshells and scared to make any noise or have people over to the point where I’m now considering moving. Is there anything I can do?!
HLR - 19-Jun-18 @ 8:14 AM
I live in a council house alone. My neighbours bought the house next door about a year ago, they are constantly doing DIY. Not stopping sometimes until 10pm. I work nights and it's driving me mad
Mary Doll 1966 - 18-Jun-18 @ 7:15 PM
Tony - Your Question:
I am a disabled 59 year old male living in my purpose built disabled ground floor flat and I have a female who lives 2 floors above me in the same block of flats and for the past 8 months or so I have had trouble with the noise coming from her flat shouting out the windows when they have a party but mainly loud music I have been up to her flat and asked her to turn it down and at first she did turn the music down but now she just ignores me I am going mad with the noise and just want some help to help me get some peace I have informed my housing association but they say I must contact the enviromentle health can someone please help.

Our Response:
Have you contacted environmental health as advised?
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Jun-18 @ 10:01 AM
i am a disabled 59 year old male living in my purpose built disabled ground floor flat and i have a female who lives 2 floors above me in the same block of flats and for the past 8 months or so i have had trouble with the noise coming from her flat shouting out the windows when they have a party but mainly loud musici have been up to her flat and asked her to turn it down and at first she did turn the music down but now she just ignores me i am going mad with the noise and just want some help to help me get some peace i have informed my housing association but they say i must contact the enviromentle health can someone please help.
Tony - 6-Jun-18 @ 2:39 PM
D57 - Your Question:
A new neighbour in the shape of a 23 year old boy moved in beside our link. Since he has moved in he regularely invites his friends to his new property adjoined to ours where they get loud and run constantly up and down the stairs which runs adjacent to our bed rooms. The normally arrive friday or saturday night at about 11 or 12 pm and continue until about 4 so we often have to get up and watch tv until it dies down 4 ish and we can go to bed to get some sleep. We had our grand children staying with us last night when he had another gathering and one of the friends went outside of the house knocking on the front door plus swearing profucely. My wife went out as she warned me previously not to and they ran back inside and continued there actions.

Our Response:
Send them a polite note, followed by a more formal letter if it doesn't improve. See our templates here for guidance. If that doesn't resolve things, contact your local council environmental health department.
ProblemNeighbours - 4-Jun-18 @ 12:03 PM
A new neighbour in the shape of a 23 year old boy moved in beside our link. Since he has moved in he regularely invites his friends to his new property adjoined to ours where they get loud and run constantly up and down the stairs which runs adjacent to our bed rooms. The normally arrive friday or saturday night at about 11 or 12 pm and continue until about 4 so we often have to get up and watch tv until it dies down 4 ish and we can go to bed to get some sleep. We had our grand children staying with us last night when he had another gathering and one of the friends went outside of the house knocking on the front door plus swearing profucely. My wife went out as she warned me previously not to and they ran back inside and continued there actions.
D57 - 3-Jun-18 @ 2:01 PM
Hi I’d like to try ask some help please regards to my downstairs neighbours.To whom have caused much evil actions onto me.I used to help this alabainin family every time they would ask for help favours. But was seeing only times they where if nice nature was with when wanted something.Back in May 2015 I told the oldest daughter I was no longer giving out anymore help to them as they where just using me. She is around 23 years old.After this she started cause much trouble.I ignored it each time. Till around June 2016.I tried speak to her politely. And her parents where with her. I had my young dog with me. And I had try detain him due to the violent threats made against me from her father. Which he had then hit me.I got him back and also wife had acted out by such violence.Which they told police falsely on false accusations of assault and false racism accusations against me.And since this time they bang slam doors on off during day. And on off late night.Into early hours morning. To the point badly shakes my whole house. The loud vibration from this is really bad.I’m at my white end with this stuck up family. And not sure what to do.Thank you.
Maza - 27-May-18 @ 7:49 PM
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
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