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Your Rights Under Noise & Statutory Nuisance Act 1993

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 18 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Noise And Statutory Nuisance Act Noisy

Your rights when it comes to the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993 work in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Noise Act 1996, and when it comes to neighbourhood issues, it is aimed at protecting those who wish to make a complaint about excessive noise that is affecting their quality of life.

How Does It Differ From The Noise Act 1996?

Many aspects of the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993 are quite similar to the Noise Act 1996 in terms of the range of powers the courts have in issuing fines and other punishments to offenders. Where it differs slightly is in terms of how your Environment Health Department goes about establishing whether or not the noise levels represent a ‘statutory nuisance’.

What Constitutes A ‘Statutory Nuisance’?

The legislation states that the noise which is the cause of the complaint must be (or is likely to be) either detrimental to a person’s health and/or it is interfering (or is likely to interfere) with a person’s own enjoyment of their own property and land.

Your Local Authority’s Responsibility

Before complaining to your local authority environmental health department, you should consider contacting your neighbour to try and discuss the problem. We have produced two templates: an informal note and a more formal letter, which you can use if you'd rather write a note, or talking has proved unsuccessful. Take a look at the templates here.

It is your local authority’s responsibility, usually via an Environmental Health Officer, to investigate any complaints about noise emanating from the following:

  • Buildings (including domestic residences)
  • Land (such as construction sites, farms, domestic gardens, parks and nearby fields)
  • Vehicles (but not general traffic noise)
  • Machinery (such as equipment used in construction, road repairs and other outdoor sound equipment)

It is then up to the judgement of the Environmental Health Officer to determine whether or not the noise does represent a ‘statutory nuisance’. Within the Noise Act 1996 and the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the officer has the power to take further action in terms of issuing abatement notices and to proceed through the courts where necessary (possible action that can be taken is outlined in the Noise Act 1996 article which is also available on this website).

What if the Officer Disagrees?

If you feel you are being plagued by noise that represents a statutory nuisance but the officer doesn’t agree with you, then you do have the right to challenge that decision. You would need to find out how you would go about making a formal complaint from your local authority, and go down that route first of all. If that’s not successful, you can write to the Chief Executive of your local authority and try to enlist the help of your local councillor.

If, having done all that, the situation has still not been resolved, you can ask the independent Local Government Ombudsman to look into the matter. They will ensure whether or not all of the correct procedures have been followed through to the letter by the local authority in terms of what is set out in the legislation.

If the Ombudsman still comes down on the side of the local authority, however, (although they are independent so they may well determine that you DO have a valid case) you can still take the issue further by taking your case directly to a magistrate’s court. Nevertheless, the court would need to be convinced that your complaint does amount to a ‘statutory nuisance’ for any further action to be taken.

As with all neighbourhood ‘noise related’ problems, wherever it’s possible and reasonable to do so, you should try to resolve matters directly with the person(s) responsible for causing the noise nuisance first. Quite often, you’ll find that they weren’t aware that they were causing a nuisance in the first place, and will be happy to reduce or eliminate the noise so that peace can be restored.

On the other hand, if you have tried that method and failed, you should have no hesitation in calling your local Environment Health Department (but not the police) and let them use the powers of the law to try to resolve the matter.

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Pls help us. Let us know our rights.
Meli - 18-Oct-17 @ 10:02 PM
Hi. I am a university girl student and living together with another girl roomate. When I moved in my parents came for 6 days to help me settle diwn. Th e next neighbour a woman rounc 36 when I first talked to her, she complaint to me about my next neighbkur, not hers, that she looks after children and tha they make a lot of noise. I did not understand her but anyway. After a week she sent her brother to tell us that we make noise and that we should not take bagh after 10 pm as she is disturbed. Plsease can you consult us about our rights as I find it redi ulous to tell us what time ho have bath. Could you tell us whdt ate our rights please?
Meli - 18-Oct-17 @ 10:01 PM
Lumby- Your Question:
My neighbour has a small scrap yard in his front garden on our housing estate,it smells and is leaking fluids out on to the footpath,I had to have my cat put to sleep 3days ago due to antifreeze poisoning and I suspect it may have something to do with said property! Is there any way I can get this looked into as he is very aggressive when confronted

Our Response:
Yes contact your Environmental Health department, they will definitely investigate.
ProblemNeighbours - 25-Sep-17 @ 12:29 PM
My neighbour has a small scrap yard in his front garden on our housing estate,it smells and is leaking fluids out on to the footpath,I had to have my cat put to sleep 3days ago due to antifreeze poisoning and I suspect it may have something to do with said property! Is there any way I can get this looked into as he is very aggressive when confronted
Lumby - 22-Sep-17 @ 9:31 AM
dap - Your Question:
Hello all, I have a problem with my neighbours- who are the ones complaining about me and my flatmate making noise. They have repeatedly knocked on our door or banged their ceiling (our floor) because they can't bear the noise we make at like 5/6/7pm which I believe is not that late for: exercising on our new cross trainer - which we could only use once because the noise bothers our lovely neigbours, casually singing, dancing - danced once to ONE SONG and they came upstairs to complain. They even banged the ceiling when we were hoovering at 1pm! We can't even have sex with our partners, yes you read it, sex! Last time my flatmate had sex they banged the ceiling repeatedly till she had to stop! But when she ran downstairs after a minute they weren't coming to the door! This is ridiculous, we live in a flat where we can't listen to music, hoover, sing, exercise, have sex or dance, all NOT during the night hours. Please, I need some advice because talking to them doesn't help at all.

Our Response:
We've answered this where you've asked it before... here
ProblemNeighbours - 15-Sep-17 @ 12:41 PM
Hello all, I have a problem with my neighbours- who are the ones complaining about me and my flatmate making noise. They have repeatedly knocked on our door or banged their ceiling (our floor) because they can't bear the noise we make at like 5/6/7pm which I believe is not that late for: exercising on our new cross trainer - which we could only use once because the noise bothers our lovely neigbours, casually singing, dancing - danced once to ONE SONG and they came upstairs to complain. They even banged the ceiling when we were hoovering at 1pm! We can't even have sex with our partners, yes you read it, sex! Last time my flatmate had sex they banged the ceiling repeatedly till she had to stop! But when she ran downstairs after a minute they weren't coming to the door! This is ridiculous, we live in a flat where we can't listen to music, hoover, sing, exercise, have sex or dance, all NOT during the night hours. Please, I need some advice because talking to them doesn't help at all.
dap - 13-Sep-17 @ 8:40 PM
Schuey - Your Question:
Hi if I believe I'm being investigated about my possible noise. am I informed I'm being investigated or am I informed there is a sound monitor in the flat below. Thank you. Adam.

Our Response:
Environmental Health will tell you if someone has made a noise complaint against you and will let you know their next course of action.
ProblemNeighbours - 13-Sep-17 @ 2:10 PM
Hi if I believe I'm being investigated about my possible noise ...... am I informed I'm being investigated or am I informed there is a sound monitor in the flat below . Thank you. Adam.
Schuey - 12-Sep-17 @ 12:44 PM
Jam - Your Question:
Loud music what times is it permitted to play I live in a housing association home but next doors is a bought property most weekends I am woken at 7.30/8 am by very loud music that you can actually hear word for word you can't even listen to the TV because it's so loud when approached the neighbors on previous occasions when he was dismantling a jeep in his garden his response was its private property so I can do as I please where do I stand as this is ruining my weekend every week because the noise can go on for hours at a time

Our Response:
Usually the environmental health department will investigate noise that is excessive and occurs after 11pm and before 7am. Sometimes if it's a weekend they many investigate complaints of regular loud noise after 7am.
ProblemNeighbours - 11-Sep-17 @ 12:07 PM
Loud music what times is it permitted to play I live in a housing association home but next doors is a bought property most weekends I am woken at 7.30/8 am by very loud music that you can actually hear word for word you can't even listen to the TV because it's so loud when approached the neighbors on previous occasions when he was dismantling a jeep in his garden his response was its private property so I can do as I please where do I stand as this is ruining my weekend every week because the noise can go on for hours at a time
Jam - 9-Sep-17 @ 8:22 AM
On Friday a neighbour (teenager) decided to have a party, 2am I had to go out as I found a teenage girl sat on the bonnet of one of our cars. This was baring in mind the dad was home! Saturday night... another party. Only this time worse!!! I had to contact our local council and report it and also contacted the police, so did other neighbours. No adults present at the property so it was all underage drinking and smoking. The police eventually turned up at 4.30am and left by 4.38am. Dispite me telling them when they arrived that beer bottles were being thrown, littering everywhere, nothing was done! I am in contact with my local council but can I send a letter to other neighbours on how to complain etc? If so what are the sorts of things I should put in it?
Luce - 11-Jul-17 @ 11:09 AM
How do we stand with noisy teenagers in the local park? Our bungalow r Boundary runs alongside a local park which is quite large. Just lately a group of teenagers have taken to congregating the other side of our fence under a tree from 3pm until 8 being the latest time. Normally I would have no problem with this as kids are kids, but we have to endure loud music along with screaming and screeching girls and loud foul language. We did have an occasioncouple of days ago where they were throwing bottles into our garden to see if they could get them through our velux windows which they managed on 3 of the tries but after I shouted over the fence to say I would phone the police and the police followed it up that behaviour has now ceased. When I said to the police that they were still continuing with loud music and swearing all they said that they are just a rowdy group but surely if it means we cannot enjoy our garden or property in the way we should be able, this is not right. Can you advise if there is anything else we can do please?
lynne - 7-Jul-17 @ 5:34 PM
BB - Your Question:
Hello I live next door to neighbors from hell, they are rude and loud and completely only think of themselves!The main noise is from the children whom never thing to play only just scream at each other this goes on all day and very much into the evening once evening arrive they go inside and the parents just start shouting at them and you hear them shouting but you're in the garden or in the house you just have to listen to them shouting at the children all the time.We live on a council estate and so it can't be expected to put up with noise but this is encroaching on our life now we cannot go out of the house and sit in the garden because Pease is no longer there I don't mind listening to children playing but listening to children screaming is another thing yesterday they started trying to dance over into my garden I did shout oii but the children just went in and went bad she shouting at us and nothing happened last year he had a go at me because I took the children to stop hitting the ball against offence Bailey we have balls coming over I've stopped throwing them back now because they're ruining my plants!! We don't want to move why should we put in a lot of work to my house on like them the garden is a mess the house is a mess why should we have to pay so much rent to live here and get our lives are completely covered by them we can only sit in the garden when they're at school we can't have friends round in the evening any more to sit in the garden like we used to because it's just too embarrassing with the noise is there anything we can do? I'm at my wits end now it's just not fair anymore to look like this why should we have to do I was trying to work last night in the office and the father just kept screaming at the children and telling them to effing well shut up it's just not on I think will be really patient up to now it's not possible to approach them that too ignorant is there anything at all we can do?

Our Response:
What have you done so far? Firstly try your local council's housing department - if it's a council estate, the local housing officer may know the children and be able to talk to the parents. Social landlords have the powers to issue a civil injunction to deal with noise from their tenants. Environmental health may also investigate it as a statutory noise nuisance.
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Jul-17 @ 11:22 AM
Hello I live next door to neighbors from hell, they are rude and loud and completely only think of themselves! The main noise is from the children whom neverthing to play only just scream at each other this goes on all day and very much into the evening once evening arrive they go inside and the parents just start shouting at them and you hear them shouting but you're in the garden or in the house you just have to listen to them shouting at the children all the time. We live on a council estate and so it can't be expected to put up with noise but this is encroaching on our life now we cannot go out of the house and sit in the garden because Pease is no longer there I don't mind listening to children playing but listening to children screaming is another thing yesterday they started trying to dance over into my garden I did shout oii but the children just went in and went bad she shouting at us and nothing happened last year he had a go at me because I took the children to stop hitting the ball against offence Bailey we have balls coming over I've stopped throwing them back now because they're ruining my plants!! We don't want to move why should we put in a lot of work to my house on like them the garden is a mess the house is a mess why should we have to pay so much rent to live here and get our lives are completely covered by them we can only sit in the garden when they're at school we can't have friends round in the evening any more to sit in the garden like we used to because it's just too embarrassing with the noise is there anything we can do? I'm at my wits end now it's just not fair anymore to look like this why should we have to do I was trying to work last night in the office and the father just kept screaming at the children and telling them to effing well shut up it's just not on I think will be really patient up to now it's not possible to approach them that too ignorant is there anything at all we can do?
BB - 5-Jul-17 @ 10:06 AM
cas - Your Question:
We live on a quiet lane. We are OAPs and there is a farm at the bottom of another private lane which runs right past our house at a very close proximity.Since we came here 7 years ago we have had problems with the Farmer and especially his wife.Large Trees hang over the side of our property which they will not cut.They tried to steal the little woodland area that belongs to our property.They have let the wall at the side of our property fall into disrepair and then have started planting a hedge in our garden because there is no soil on their side as the walls is missing.Several years ago they started renting out their barns to building hire heavy equipment people there is also a scaffolding company down there. These people rattle up and down the lane with very big vehicles making lots of noise at all hours sometimes before 7am even on a Sunday.The latest carry on has been letting another Farm contractor cut hay from the fields all day and most of the night with big hay machines running past our property every few minutes incessantly until 2am. I complained at 1.15am and it did not stop until 2am. I was told by the cheeky farmer that I was lucky he asked the contractor to stop as he would have carried on.I complained to the Coucil several years ago and got nowhere. I have now complained to the local Councillor who has passed it to the Environmental Health Dept. who don't appear to be doing much. I believe we are entitled to quiet possession of our home and these selfish people are driving me mad. What can I do?

Our Response:
We'll try and address each of your issues in turn:
Overhanging trees...the tree owner is not obliged to cut these down, but you, as a neighbour can cut them back as far as the boundary
The wall - who does it belong to? If it belongs to them they can unfortunately do as they like with it. They are only obliged to maintain a fence if they have livestock that might get out. If the neighbour is planting on your side of the boundary, they are trespassing on your property and you can take legal action via the courts
Large vehicles are often a part of living in the countryside, but if the farmer is conducting business that is outside of planning regulations, the planning department should be willing to take action.
Noise - again the noise of harvesting is expected in a rural area. In general famers will stop around 10pm and start up again in the morning. Your environmental health department should be able to take action; when you say they don't appear to be doing much, have you asked them? It's worth a follow up at least.
ProblemNeighbours - 26-Jun-17 @ 1:46 PM
We live on a quiet lane. We are OAPs and there is a farm at the bottom of another private lane which runs right past our house at a very close proximity. Since we came here 7 years ago we have had problems with the Farmer and especially his wife. Large Trees hang over the side of our property which they will not cut. They tried to steal the little woodland area that belongs to our property. They have let the wall at the side of our property fall into disrepair and then have started planting a hedge in our garden because there is no soil on their side as the walls is missing. Several years ago they started renting out their barns to building hire heavy equipment people there is also a scaffolding company down there. These people rattle up and down the lane with very big vehicles making lots of noise at all hours sometimes before 7am even on a Sunday. The latest carry on has been letting another Farm contractor cut hay from the fields all day and most of the night with big hay machines running past our property every few minutesincessantly until 2am. I complained at 1.15am and it did not stop until 2am. I was told by the cheeky farmer that I was lucky he asked the contractor to stop as he would have carried on. I complained to the Coucil several years ago and got nowhere. I have now complained to the local Councillor who has passed it to the Environmental Health Dept. who don't appear to be doing much. I believe we are entitled to quiet possession of our home and these selfish people are driving me mad. What can I do?
cas - 23-Jun-17 @ 4:55 PM
On Friday a neighbour (teenager) decided to have a party, 2am I had to go out as I found a teenage girl sat on the bonnet of one of our cars. This was baring in mind the dad was home! Saturday night... another party. Only this time worse!!! I had to contact our local council and report it and also contacted the police, so did other neighbours. No adults present at the property so it was all underage drinking and smoking. The police eventually turned up at 4.30am and left by 4.38am. Dispite me telling them when they arrived that beer bottles were being thrown, littering everywhere, nothing was done! I am in contact with my local council but can I send a letter to other neighbours on how to complain etc? If so what are the sorts of things I should put in it?
Luce - 19-Jun-17 @ 12:41 PM
kj - Your Question:
Hello, I would like to know the law on using lawnmowers and other machinary on allotments before 8am on a Sunday please as I am often woken by this. Also there is a bird scarer that goes off so close to my home which makes me jump - it has just woken me up at 5:30 this morning (sunday) and the farmers often shoot in the field next to my house which again very loud and scarily very close to my house. I don't want to complain if I have no rights so please advise thank you. (I am also writing on behalf of 3 other neighbours)

Our Response:
Check with your local authority - in general noise nuisance is anything between 11pm and 7am but some authorities impose specific times for Sundays as well. As this is not strictly a domestic property you might find some of commercial rules apply (often these are strict for Sundays).
ProblemNeighbours - 13-Jun-17 @ 2:18 PM
Hello, I would like to know the law on using lawnmowers and other machinary on allotments before 8am on a Sunday please as I am often woken by this. Also there is a bird scarer that goes off so close to my home which makes me jump - it has just woken me up at 5:30 this morning (sunday) and the farmers often shoot in the field next to my house which again very loud and scarily very close to my house. I don't want to complain if I have no rights so please advise thank you. (I am also writing on behalf of 3 other neighbours)
kj - 11-Jun-17 @ 6:32 AM
Ol - Your Question:
I live in a row of terraced houses, which in general is very quiet. We are a couple in our 50's and 60's and enjoy being in the garden. One of our neighbours, next door but 1 plays his music extremely loud whenever he is in, he and his wife both like a drink and as well as the music they shout and swear without any regard for their neighbours, this can be anytime of the day, its so loud we can't even have our doors or windows open, let alone enjoy time in the garden on a summers day. My partner suffers from depression and this makes his condition worse which also reflects on me. We also feel too embarrassed to invite friends and family round. Its getting so bad that we're considering selling up and moving on. Please advise what is the best course of action, I don't want to confront him because he has been known to get aggressive

Our Response:
You could try sending a note/letter to them, here is our template - we'd advise you to put your name to it, but if you don't feel comfortable, you could just sign it from " a concerned neighbour". If the problem is not resolved, contact your environmental health officer and report it as a nuisance.
ProblemNeighbours - 31-May-17 @ 10:20 AM
I live in a row of terraced houses, which in general is very quiet. We are a couple in our 50's and 60's and enjoy being in the garden. One of our neighbours, next door but 1 plays his music extremely loud whenever he is in, he and his wife both like a drink and as well as the music they shout and swear without any regard for their neighbours, this can be anytime of the day, its so loud we can't even have our doors or windows open, let alone enjoy time in the garden on a summers day. My partner suffers from depression and this makes his condition worse which also reflects on me. We also feel too embarrassed to invite friends and family round. Its getting so bad that we're considering selling up and moving on. Please advise what is the best course of action, I don't want to confront him because he has been known to get aggressive
Ol - 28-May-17 @ 8:14 PM
Hi I need some advice I've Been complaining my neighbor so many times to local authority for 2yrs now before they playing the loud music during night time some party to there house ,stamping on the stairs, banging the door.when i complain they stop for couple of week then back again to normal they start 9 pm and they finished around 11pm sometimes early morning I have 3 children sometimes they running on the stairs but I always told them don't make some noise and they are in the bed before 9pm and I'm working early I start at 7:30 a but they keep awake through the night it's acceptable like 2or3 time they slam there door but more 10time ita annoying and frustrating
Rod - 25-May-17 @ 10:55 PM
I have 2 women living in above flat the dogs bark all hours and they have music on lond with speakers outside the garden and people shouting lond when they don't live there is have 2 year daughter and she said that noise is lond and every weekend and bank holidays the party started 3pm to 11pm and we had cigarettes in our back garden and my partner had his bike nicked just because these women work Monday to Friday think they can get away with being a nuisance I suffer from migraines a lot I hate a lot of noise we have reported the neighbour to coastal housing said they will do something about it if they don't we will see local mp and am also council every one has the right to have peace and quiet they not suppose to have dogs in flats said on tenancy agreement they like to make a show of things the other neighbours are peaceful don't hear them
Lou - 13-May-17 @ 4:22 PM
Night worker with no - Your Question:
I am a night worker (not by choice, not any day shifts at my place of work) a nursery has moved into the building next to where I live without letting me or any other of my neighbors know about this recent purchase and it keeps me awake through the day while I'm trying to sleep (I work 4 nights per week). I have lived at my property for 3 years and I have kindly asked the manager of the nursery to keep noise to a minimum during 8:30am and 4:30pm, nothing has come of this. As I work 12 hour shifts 8am to 8pm.I have also phoned environmental health and nothing has been done to resolve this issue I am having as I work with elderly and sick people. I am going to write a formal friendly letter desperately trying to gain some result from this situation.I don't know what else to do

Our Response:
Unfortunately, if planning permission was given for the nursery (in which case you should have been asked as part of the neighbour consultation process) then there really isn't much you can do about this - the noise is at reasonable times of the day for most people. Have you looked at the various soundproofing options or ear plugs etc?
ProblemNeighbours - 3-May-17 @ 11:23 AM
I am a night worker (not by choice, not any day shifts at my place of work) a nursery has moved into the building next to where I live without letting me or any other of my neighbors know about this recent purchase and it keeps me awake through the day while I'm trying to sleep (I work 4 nights per week). I have lived at my property for 3 years and I have kindly asked the manager of the nursery to keep noise to a minimum during 8:30am and 4:30pm,nothing has come of this. As I work 12 hour shifts 8am to 8pm. I have also phoned environmental health and nothing has been done to resolve this issue I am having as I work with elderly and sick people. I am going to write a formal friendly letter desperately trying to gain some result from this situation. I don't know what else to do
Night worker with no - 2-May-17 @ 3:43 PM
We live in a semi detached house and a couple bought the house joining ours and obviously are doing it up. All weekend every weekend they are working on it all day ripping it out and starting again all noisy work. We basically can't enjoy being in our home at the weekends however we accept that they don't have a lot of time to do things. I have however spoken to them about evenings as we have a 2 year old to get to bed and even though I have spoken to them they continue to drill bang and generally make lots of noise until around 8pm. I know that's not that late but where do we stand as they are waking our child up then go away for the evening to enjoy in peace and we are left to settle a toddler who has been woken!
HT - 26-Apr-17 @ 8:20 PM
I'm living in private rented accommodation. My fiancé and I moved in 4 months ago, the 17 year old girl plays loud music quite often which is right next to our bedroom. Both myself and partner have asked her twice before to turn it down. It's just past 8:30pm and the music is blaring again. We've explained to her that we both do long hours and very early mornings. I've been up since 4am today and I've just about had it up to y wits ends. I have no idea how I can deal with this situation anymore... help!
Leilei - 18-Apr-17 @ 8:40 PM
Jf - Your Question:
A couple have brought the house next to me, it's a semi attached to mine. All week they have been knocking down walls, banging around and drilling from 8 in the morning until 11.30 at night. Despite my asking if they could let me know in advance when they will be doing any really noisy work they haven't and now the noise levels are becoming intolerable. Is there anything I can do?

Our Response:
Yes ask them if they could stop at 10pm to start with. They should also be able to tell you how long the work is likely to continue for. If you're still suffering in a week or two, communicate with your environmental health officer.
ProblemNeighbours - 18-Apr-17 @ 11:48 AM
A couple have brought the house next to me, it's a semi attached to mine. All week they have been knocking down walls, banging around and drilling from 8 in the morning until 11.30 at night. Despite my asking if they could let me know in advance when they will be doing any really noisy work they haven't and now the noise levels are becoming intolerable. Is there anything I can do?
Jf - 15-Apr-17 @ 6:49 PM
Iking- Your Question:
I love across from a school and accept the noise this brings during the day however at night the rent out their hall to a fitness class. So from 7-8 all I hear is loud music. I've complained to the school and the instructor but they both say the music is not loud. What constitutes loud?

Our Response:
Ask your environmental health officer about this. They may be willing to measure the noise levels, although if it's only forone hour and is not especially late at night, they may not be able to take action.
ProblemNeighbours - 23-Mar-17 @ 2:34 PM
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