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Your Rights Under the Noise Act 1996

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 31 Jan 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 someone please help me. Me and my mum both are shift workers, therefore we do early mornings 3am starts and work nights too. Our neighbours who has 5 children are constantly running up and down the stairs. Recently they have decided to keep us awake with her tv being extremely loud I can hear what movie they are playing. I do wonder if i can hear it through my walls how loud must it be in their house. Myself and my mum have spoken to them about keeping the noise level down especially at night but the inconsiderate people that they are they have continued to disregard a very simple request. Currently it’s 1.30am in the morning and I can hear their tv, and guess what I have to be up at 3am.... I genuinely don’tknow what to do anymore. Someone please help
Angry neighbour - 31-Jan-19 @ 1:14 AM
I’ve been living in a semi detached for 10years now and I’ve put up with my noisy neighbours for all that time from running up and down the stairs to loud doors banging. I am finally after 10 long sufferable years moving out, I can finally get my sanity’s back and sleep too. No one knows hat it is like until you have had nosiy neighbours, it has brought on stress and anxiety with me. As someone posted in one forum, the only option you have is to live with it or move. It will take 3 to 4 months for the sale to go through but I want to move out now I just can’t wait.
Marty - 28-Jan-19 @ 10:53 PM
I have a neighbor who has a gym in his living room if that doesn’t make enough noise he then decides to shout instead of talk. He also thinks that hammering at 10pm is acceptable EVERYDAY OF THE WEEK!!!! He keeps waking my 5 month old up from his naps and wakes him very early in the morning with the noise he makes getting ready for work. It’s unbearable.
Ceri - 22-Jan-19 @ 1:40 PM
Hi there, I have a neighbour upstairs that have 4 children I can hear them running, playing ball at all times, even the inúmeros fights between the parents, specially after 8pm. In party times, they make noise all night long, including the children playing noises! I even woke up at 3am with the children playing ball!!!! It’s absolutely unbelievable! We talked to them quite few times but nothing has been done. They are polite and say they will improve but the next day it’s all the same. I have a 7 years old that goes to school so needs to wake up early and suffers from fatigue as she has SymptomaticHypermobility, she has been sleeping late because the noise is unbearable! Of course she becames exaustaded, what affects her day and her health. I’m getting anxious and extremely irritated but I worry the council will not take my complain serious. How can I sort it out? For my own sanity!
Danicor - 11-Jan-19 @ 10:43 PM
Last year my neighbour sold her house to a couple for their son who is in his twenties and his mate to live in over the past few months we have had to endure banging doors laughing and messing around and on a few occasions I have been around to their house in the middle of the night to remind them that we are trying to sleep. This has had little or no effect so I got hold of the parents and complained to them and this calmed down. For a bit although the banging of doors has now stopped they are up all night talking and this can be heard. Question is it unreasonable for me to ask them to stop chatting all night as we are having sleepless nights now.
Stevemac - 31-Dec-18 @ 8:22 AM
My neighbour round the corner uses a chain saw to saw trees. My wife and myself are greatly disturbed by the noise.We would like to know when this happens so we can make arrangements to go out.Should the person using the chain saw inform his neighbours
Grumpyoldman - 24-Dec-18 @ 3:14 PM
I have moved into the property 5 years ago and from day one abuse started by my neighbour from he'll who lives aboveme. I have tolerated him for 2 years than I went to report him. ImmediatelyHD accused me of homofobia and that I am harassing him and because of that his mental health is deteriorating. I am constantly in court as he and the council are trying to ditch me up. Now I have enough and have no option but to involvepublic expose OV thisindividualas he has been abusing peoplefor years. Good help anyone getting someone like him. My property has been vandalised so Manny times and nothing has been done about. Marina
Nina - 21-Dec-18 @ 5:49 PM
I completely sympathise with you here Liam.We too have a neighbour who I believe run some sort of business, they come back home late and there's constant banging between 10:30pm up to 1:30pm.Theyare relatively new neighbours who are showing a blatant disregard to whatever activity it is they are doing.Surely after 10/11pm one would apply a bit of common sense and be concious of the fact people are in bed for work the following morning.It's driving me crazy, I just cannot understand people's logic. I have just calmly knocked on their door to ask what all the noise is about, but there was no answer. Hope you guys get your own noise sorted.
Andy - 17-Dec-18 @ 11:29 PM
My up stairs neighbor has three dogs that constantly bark when ever he goes out or if they hear a bit of noise through the night, I've tried talking to him about it but he just tells me he has to go shopping. I work nights and can sometimes go a week with no more than a couple of hours of broken sleep a day. What are my best options
Carl - 16-Dec-18 @ 12:17 PM
I have a neighbour who constantly washes his car , rain , sleet or snow , 5am , 10.00pm he’s constantly hoovers it , making noises and waking me up , also flooded my front garden killing my flowers with soap suds , please help me is there anyway I can do to stop this , I don’t mind anyone washing a car but at a reasonable hour, Andrew
Andrew - 7-Nov-18 @ 2:26 PM
Our of hours Noise Nuisance Patrol??? Stops at 4am so what's the point as most music will start around that time as they are aware of this!! If & when you do get through they aren't that interested in helping.What is the point of an Abatement Notice or Order if they ignore it??
Yas - 27-Oct-18 @ 6:36 AM
After filling many forms in our neighbour was issued with an abatement notice!!Yet she still has party's at all hrs and plays loud music with all sorts of aggressive drug dealing people coming in and out of her property. She even leaves people in her hse to come and go all hrs of the night whilst she jumps into a cab and leaves. I've called the so called out of hrs noise patrol time only to be told that they finish at 4am and I need to call 101?? Useless service they were put in hold forever. The polite chap on the 101 tried to help but simply said they have no right to do that and called them back whilst I was in the other line. Sorry it's out of my hands basically the police have No authority in this matter. I'm so tired and stressed needing to deal with this again!!! Please help us?!
Yasmin - 27-Oct-18 @ 6:27 AM
Hi i have a neighbour who runs 2 off licences he has at 4 to 5 van transit van loads of cases of beer and wine delivered to his home in a residential street.over time he loads his own van up several times a month usually late at night chucking the cases of beer into the van making loud thumping noise.My wife is disabled and is on a lot of medication including Morphine every 12 hours for the pain.We both suffer from sleep Deprivation because of her illness.My wife takes her medication at about 6pm by 8pm the medication starts to work,then about 10.30pm the neighbour starts to load his van up with cases of beer and its bump,bump, loudly we got really annoyed that we were woken up again so my opened the window and gave him some abuse and then I intervened and we had a heated row.He thinks he make noise loading his van up until 11pm. we are both Pensioners.What can I do about this Neighbour.
Liam - 13-Oct-18 @ 12:32 PM
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
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