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Your Rights Under Noise & Statutory Nuisance Act 1993

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 23 Feb 2021 | 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 here 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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I have lived in the house I bought after downsizing for 10 years. When I first moved into the end terraced house my neighbour was a single newly bereaved dad with 3 children and there were no problems. He sold the house to a landlord who rented the house to a young couple with 3 children. The couple had noisy parties and the children were quite noisy. They had another child 5 years ago and it became noisier. I was still working at the time and preferred to work evenings to get out of the way due to the noise. The pandemic arrived and schools went into lockdown last year and I was due to retire. The children are now really noisy and constantly scream and run all over the house. The mother dreams at the children and they scream back at her. It has become a vicious circle of noise. The better weather came but I decided to reduce my hours instead of retiring as I couldnt stand the constant noise. I am not able to hear my television or sit in my garden. The couple have recently split up and Dad will not have the 4 children as he cant cope with the noise. He has the older 2 one night over the weekend. Although we have lockdown, Mum has constant visitors with their children and the noise is getting worse and driving me mad. I have spoken to her as has the neighbour at the other side and was told that they are kids and they are playing. I cant stand the thought of another summer when I cant do my gardening or sit in my garden to relax or watch tv in the evening What should I do to resolve this problem that is driving me mad ?
Lamoore - 23-Feb-21 @ 8:04 PM
Hi , is there a law specifying DIY hours in UK , googled comes for differentbouroughs with slightly differenthours. Are they 8 till 6pm Mon to Fridayand 8 till 1 pm on Saturday?
Mags2407 - 23-Feb-21 @ 4:30 PM
I live on the top floor in a one bedroom flat and the neighbour who lives below me keeps on slamming doors and moves furniture around day/night and there must be at least 3 adults including her and a child and a dog, she is on about other tenants about respect but she doesn't show any of respect when she carries on doing what she wants and she has her washing machine on day and night and the vibrations keeps me awake for most of the night, there's no point in knocking her door as I don't know really how many people are living in a one bedroom flat and I feel like I'm at my witt's end
Witt's end - 22-Feb-21 @ 9:06 PM
I have got a new neighbour and that's all he does is play loud music all hours day and night and he reves up his motorbike in his kitchen and my partner work's from 6 in the morning till 5:45 in the evening and my brother in law work's 6 in the evening till 7 in the morning so my partner can't sleep in the night and then my brother in law can't sleep in the day because of him and he smokes weed and the smell is coming into the house an i have got a 15 year old daughter and the smell is making her unwell and when I spoke to his landlord he told him to keep on doing it because the landlord smokes weed himself so that's what we got to put up with everyday and every night
Roofes - 21-Feb-21 @ 9:06 PM
I live above a dentist/doctors. From 8am to 8.30pm I have to put up with the constant banging of doors closing. It is an old building so no soundproofing. Since August last year i have had to give up work for medical reasons so I now hear the noise all day instead of a few hours in the evening when i was working. At 9pm the cleaner comes to the dentist /doctors and bangs into everything while she hoovers. I have asked her before to stop banging into things, which worked for a while but its now back to how it was. Sometimes when the doors are closed, the windows in my flat rattle and it makes me jump. I have asked them to be quieter but the manager, who is a very abrupt woman, said there is nothing they can do about it. It's driving me mad and causes a lot of stress.
Max - 19-Feb-21 @ 11:36 AM
To Jo and music playing - ifneighbours both sides are complaining about your music then they can hear it. Like you people should be able to relax in their own home; but if it what you do is bothering someone else why do it?I would be mortified if I was disturbing someone else's peace and quite.There is nothing worse than people affecting the way other people relax in their own homes but you are the cause of the situation and your neighbours complaining are the effect, why can you not wear headphones?
Jonesy - 17-Feb-21 @ 8:11 PM
To the person in the new build...Sound proofing in flats should have either been sound tested or have met certain standards - if your flat is still under some sort of warranty then I would check to see if this has been done and if your warranty covers this.Do your research. You could always get your flat soundproofed.
Jonesy - 17-Feb-21 @ 7:51 PM
I have a neighbour who acts as though he lives in a detached house. He doesn’t, he is semi detached to us. The constant noise at all times of the day is ridiculous and after speaking to him civilly twice about the noise I now believe it is deliberate. I no longer want to talk to them, my partner and I avoid them for fear of confrontation, I dread coming home from work and weekends. We started recording the noise activity as advised by our housing association. He realised that we were filming his child skateboarding, jumping off pallets on his back patio, which is incredibly noisy in our home. So he allowed his child to skateboard in the house! You can only imagine the kind of noise that makes in our home. Now, after buying him a basketball for Xmas all we hear is bang, bang, bang, bang, from inside the house. There is so much more but I cannot be bothered, it’s depressing and getting me down just writing about it. We are not going to speak to them for a third time, we are now going to go down the legal route, which is what I feel is our only option now. Even this worries me after reading so many people’s experiences with EH and such like. Wish me luck, I think we are going to need it.
Fed up - 16-Feb-21 @ 6:48 PM
I have moved in to a 3rd floor flat. I understand that there is a certain level of noise from neighbours that come part in parcel to apartment living. But my upstairs neighbour doesn't walk. She stomps. So much so my flat rattles. Even my floor. I am trying to be respectful to my downstairs neighbour and walk light footed. Because I myself can be a bit stompy. But they get up before 6 am and stomp around their bedroom. I have to add I wear a hearing aid. So the fact they are waking me when I'm not wearing it goes to show how loud it is. The sound proofing in this new build isnt great. But we all pay the same rent. We should all pay the same respect. Or don't live in a flat. I have spoken to my housing officer and she said she will have a friendly world. But it doesn't see to have made any difference. My other neighbours haven't had the same issues. Yes they can hear their neighbours sometimes. But nothing to the extent that I am having to go through. I have knocked. But they just knock back. So I think they just don't care and will do as they please. Don't know what else to do and if this constitutes anti social or what
Runner75 - 13-Feb-21 @ 2:50 PM
we live in the end house of a row of old houses, a few years ago and group of Europeans moved into a house on the other street where is the problem you ask... the access alleyway to their back yard runs along side out property the alleyway has always been there as it used to be the exit for old rolls Royce factories and offices the builds have long been torn down but the council made the owner of the house add a gate which is attached to our property the group of people in the house of absolutely vile selfish people and the owner of the home is just as bad as this gate has now been broken from being over slammed shut and openedup against our house for the past few years when it’s windy the gate is left to bang in the wind the noise isn’t as bad in the day with tv and household appliances running but at night and upstairs it’s just ridiculous and I’m sure it’s starting to damage our property, they have the usual drunk fights with each other as people constantly come and go down this alleyway too it wouldn’t only be used as an emergency exit.
Emmalou - 8-Feb-21 @ 7:04 PM
My neighbor as a dartboard up on the party wall which he plays on at night this causes a constant bumping in my house is this anti social what do I do to stop him
Tony - 28-Jan-21 @ 9:43 PM
people from two doors down have established a football pitch behind my boxed garden. they have an unusual property layout, with a long L-shape running behind three other properties. they´re sending their kids (two boys in their early teens) round the corner behind my garden, where they play football, pingpong, basketball and jump the trampoline for hours, every day. they do have space behind their own house, but that´s where they have installed a jacuzzi, an outdoor lounge and an eating area. now they´re saying "we have no space at the back of our house for our boys, unfortunately", which i find antisocial. needless to say i´ve cherished my garden and my own outdoor eating area,but i have not been able to sit there once in four years without their kids interrupting my peace. i think that the long stretch behind their neighbours properties was meant as a buffer zone between adjoining gardens - but they´re using it to impose on us. no-one else in the entire square of gardens does that to their neighbours. it is devastating to have your peaceful existence ruined permanently, and i don´t know what to do anymore. i´ve written letters, asked politely to please be considerate of others - no change. i don´t want to move away, i loved to live here before they installed that footballpitch. i just want peace restored in my backgarden. what now?
suse - 26-Jan-21 @ 12:53 PM
I have a car that's a v8 and unfortunately have to be at work at 6.15 . I park my car approximately 12metres away from my neighbours house . But they keep complaining.I don't rev the car and leave slowly as soonas its safe ( de frosting etc ) to do so to avoid any undue noise but they are still complaining. The problem is they have complained what car I have had even a little 1.8 audi tt . I try not to make any undue noise
Glen - 22-Jan-21 @ 2:01 PM
My neighbours on both sides constantly complain when we play our music.We never play it early or late, it generally daytime.I live in a terraced house and both sides do it. I've already had Environmental Health out, who told the neighbour on 1 side there was no issues.As soon as music starts they're either braying on the Wall,banging door down, or have even been known to send police! Where do I stand and what do I do please?
Jo - 21-Jan-21 @ 12:31 PM
My Neighbour complaining I not been put on heating can he tell to put heating on to warm up his floor lives flat above
Golden - 16-Jan-21 @ 3:42 PM
I have the same problem,I have been living in my gff for just over 3 years now the family above me are so noisy it’s disgusting behaviour,they let there 4 & 1 year old run around till 2/3am screaming,shouting,running,jumping on the bed,dropping things on the floor (they have laminated floor)waking myself & my 4 year old son up constantly. I have done recordings for over 2years now my housing have done nothing about it. I’m trying my hardest to get out of here. I’m currently awake now as these children have yet again woken me up. I have spoken to the disrespectful mother to which she threatened to beat me in front of my son,I called the police this was June 3rd 2020 he called to take my statement 15th of July & then called me at the beginning of October 2020 to say he was going to have a word with her about it, yep 4 months later. I’m at the end now I don’t know how much more I can take of it.
Coni - 11-Jan-21 @ 11:38 PM
I have a neighbour who acts as though he lives in a detached house. He doesn’t, he is semi detached to us. The constant noise at all times of the day is ridiculous and after speaking to him civilly twice about the noise I now believe it is deliberate. I no longer want to talk to them, my partner and I avoid them for fear of confrontation, I dread coming home from work and weekends. We started recording the noise activity as advised by our housing association. He realised that we were filming his child skateboarding, jumping off pallets on his back patio, which is incredibly noisy in our home. So he allowed his child to skateboard in the house! You can only imagine the kind of noise that makes in our home. Now, after buying him a basketball for Xmas all we hear is bang, bang, bang, bang, from inside the house. There is so much more but I cannot be bothered, it’s depressing and getting me down just writing about it. We are not going to speak to them for a third time, we are now going to go down the legal route, which is what I feel is our only option now. Even this worries me after reading so many people’s experiences with EH and such like. Wish me luck, I think we are going to need it.
Fed up - 10-Jan-21 @ 7:02 AM
I have a neighbour who acts as though he lives in a detached house. He doesn’t, he is semi detached to us. The constant noise at all times of the day is ridiculous and after speaking to him civilly twice about the noise I now believe it is deliberate. I no longer want to talk to them, my partner and I avoid them for fear of confrontation, I dread coming home from work and weekends. We started recording the noise activity as advised by our housing association. He realised that we were filming his child skateboarding, jumping off pallets on his back patio, which is incredibly noisy in our home. So he allowed his child to skateboard in the house! You can only imagine the kind of noise that makes in our home. Now, after buying him a basketball for Xmas all we hear is bang, bang, bang, bang, from inside the house. There is so much more but I cannot be bothered, it’s depressing and getting me down just writing about it. We are not going to speak to them for a third time, we are now going to go down the legal route, which is what I feel is our only option now. Even this worries me after reading so many people’s experiences with EH and such like. Wish me luck, I think we are going to need it.
Fed up - 5-Jan-21 @ 8:29 PM
neighbour moved in last febuary ,met him told him i worked permanent nights , son worksshifts , put up with the noise of him moving in and decorating for 3 weeks , them when he finally finished this this , the bombshell hit us , his flat is undermine , low and behold his kids start staying over from friday to monday , so now after my shifts and my son,s are finished , we are woken up a 6.30 with crying screaming , fighting , balls getting thrown at walls , music , we even hear them going the toilet { hear then peeing } thisgoes on continuasly till they go to bed , and when they go home on a monday , ive spook to him about it and hesays its my fault for working nights once ive been woken up i cant get bck to sleep so im going to work shattered . local housing have said its not in the unsociable bracket , but im failing in work through lack of sleep , is there any way i can get this sorted out , buy the way , he has 4 children stay with him in a 2 bed small flat .
jimbo - 5-Jan-21 @ 11:51 AM
So just behind where I live is 2 places that cause noise every day. One is a car repair shop that is run by Aston Martin. Every day after 8 am the noise starts, revving of engines practically all day, sometimes till very late in the evening. Not only that though, if the windows are open when they are running the engines hard which they quite often do I also have to put up with the nauseating smell of car exhaust as well.
Hex - 17-Dec-20 @ 8:00 AM
5 flipping years of working with the authorities and putting up with a constant generator like noise and vibrations the E.H had put monitoring equipment in my home on 3 occasions and picked up on unusual frequencies and an idling deasel generator..I'm still suffering torture and sleep deprivation the local council manager is denying anything and everything that is going on in that house they even send workmen In to repair all the intentional damage ..its a cover up as the environmental health had all he needed to investigate and put a stop to my harrassment torturing noise source and they all pull ranks and cover up on the illegal activities because they the local authorities cant be bothered until something goes badly wrong I'm fuming to think that Britain has become a lawless society whilst victims remain unheard ...
Redwhale - 27-Nov-20 @ 6:04 PM
I’ve lived in my flat for three years and works round the co-op van who arrives at 6 am and recently started arriving at 5 am. Park is right outside my house with engine running doors slamming crates being moved. I worked rightround it and just got up at the same time however I now have noisy neighbours above and the next door the walls are paper thin so when they go to bed above at midnight I’m ending up with five hours sleep. My neighbours to the side I know partying which can last anything from 8 pm till threeA.m. . My neighbours to the side and above are not always keeping me awake but the co-op van always always wakes me up. Last week I had three hours sleep every night and felt very unwell. I don’t think it is right that the van should be there at this time in the morning every morning including weekends. Please send advice. I would like to know my rights before moving forward.
NICKY - 15-Nov-20 @ 6:44 AM
This is to liss...... i am in the same situation, the neighbour has the whole day playing EXTREMELY LOUD BASS music, it comes to my house, and the same situation, i complaint to the landlord, i complaint to the police, and they told me MUSIC IS NOT A CRIME , after a year of complaints i spoke to the council, they said they were going to send a warning, still nothing happens and this INTENTIONAL TORTURE, because a bass interrupting your life is in my perspective a torture if its intentional , keeps going, i am starting to feel that in the UK this behave is condonated,in Germany the POLICE show up straight away and show the teeth, in spain it happens to me once and the police came and put the guy in its position, in here, you kind of start feeling bad for not sacrifying your life for a person without manners and no understanding of coexistence rules that simply dont care. Its an Horrible situation that in many places you feel the authority defend the respect between neighbours , in here what would the guy playing loud music think if no one does nothing? he will feel supported by the authority, we as human beings will start to feel impotence in front of an ongoing injustice towards us. the authority should enforce the respect, not to move between burocracy and legal terms in order to stay sitting in their desks and not to be bothered by the citizens that pays their salary. i have decided to move during covid 19, i have had to visit 20 rooms and find money to move out because as simple as a guy that is smoking weed all day dont respect how a society works. I'm with you in this, and i understand clearly your feelings,..... it is so unfair, that if at the end you collect evidence and go to court the max a court does is to ask the guy to stop the music, but if the guy decide to hire a lawyer and by any chance the guy wins you have to pay all the cost...what happens in here? anybody could tell me why are we treated so badly by the authority for asking for standards?
Carl - 14-Nov-20 @ 7:47 PM
This is to liss...... i am in the same situation, the neighbour has the whole day playing EXTREMELY LOUD BASS music, it comes to my house, and the same situation, i complaint to the landlord, i complaint to the police, and they told me MUSIC IS NOT A CRIME , after a year of complaints i spoke to the council, they said they were going to send a warning, still nothing happens and this INTENTIONAL TORTURE, because a bass interrupting your life is in my perspective a torture if its intentional , keeps going, i am starting to feel that in the UK this behave is condonated,in Germany the POLICE show up straight away and show the teeth, in spain it happens to me once and the police came and put the guy in its position, in here, you kind of start feeling bad for not sacrifying your life for a person without manners and no understanding of coexistence rules that simply dont care. Its an Horrible situation that in many places you feel the authority defend the respect between neighbours , in here what would the guy playing loud music think if no one does nothing? he will feel supported by the authority, we as human beings will start to feel impotence in front of an ongoing injustice towards us. the authority should enforce the respect, not to move between burocracy and legal terms in order to stay sitting in their desks and not to be bothered by the citizens that pays their salary. i have decided to move during covid 19, i have had to visit 20 rooms and find money to move out because as simple as a guy that is smoking weed all day dont respect how a society works. I'm with you in this, and i understand clearly your feelings,..... it is so unfair, that if at the end you collect evidence and go to court the max a court does is to ask the guy to stop the music, but if the guy decide to hire a lawyer and by any chance the guy wins you have to pay all the cost...what happens in here? anybody could tell me why are we treated so badly by the authority for asking for standards?
Carl - 14-Nov-20 @ 7:33 PM
Something has to be done about motorbikes. My neighbor leaves every morning and the walls are literally vibrating with the noise his bike generates. Why isn't the government doing more about this?
pmarsha11 - 26-Oct-20 @ 1:37 PM
Next door complaining of noise that my 2 children aged 4 and 5 make while in home and garden i try and keep them quite but it hard what can i do .
Gemma - 24-Oct-20 @ 6:43 AM
Moved in to a new house on a estate not long ago which is close to the rail way tracks, so i did appreciate there would be some noise from the trains, but since moving in have come to find this is a very busy line and trains are running from 5-30am to 12am with a large freight trains passing 1-30-2am on various days through the week which wakes me up as these are generally long trains and the track noise is that bad so i have had to use pop-in ear plugs at nights,The noise varies depending on what train is passing. I have spoken to Network rail who say there is nothing they can do, could you advise where could i go next, as there must be something that can be done i have herd of acoustic barriers being erected along residential estate to minimise the noise.
Sleepless - 23-Oct-20 @ 12:09 PM
new upstairs neighbours moved in 4 months ago, absolute nightmare being woken at 4.45am every other week when they on early shift and cannot sleep from 11.00pm when they on afternoon shift, tried talking to them got threatened, been here 15 years never had a problem with other neighbours.These are foreign, going through mediation but they playing language card, judging by what happened last time i asked them to keep the noise down there is no language problem, they just trying to make excuses.Used to love my apartment now have to plan my life around their shifts to make sure I don't meet them in hallway, worried they might attack me, I am 65 years old. they are in their 20s and twice my size, any advice.
kas - 27-Sep-20 @ 6:50 PM
We've had problems with our neighbours since they moved in some years ago and gradually it's gotten worse each year. He now runs a full swing mechanic/garage business from home from early morning till late at night every day of the week, this is the families only source of income, which must be pretty good in order for them to have both left their full time jobs. They've had numerous complaints to the council and police and nothing has ever really been done until now, we hope. We are currently in a case with the council and planning to shut it down, he is still continuing despite having visits from the authorities and neighbours complaining to them. It has had such a big impact on our lives and wellbeing and of our neighbours, one of which is moving house because of the noise he causes. Keep a 2 week diary incase you go to the council, this is the first thing they will ask for and that way it saves two weeks of your time to get the ball rolling.
Amy - 20-Sep-20 @ 1:19 PM
Neighbours playing Base beat music 24 hours a day since 25 March. Environmental Health Officer as their machine didn't pick up noise says there is no statutory nuisance. It us stopping me sleeping the boom resonates all around our house.They have an ASBO for causing damage there have been threats and stuff thrown in our garden. As my husband has a sleep apnoea machine he can sleep I am getting 3 hours max if that. I can't concentrate can hear it above TV it is deliberate they have told us to move. We have no evidence of the abuse so Police won't help. Council officer says he has no experience of Low Frequency Noise if that officers visiting out of hours can't hear it even though we both can. In summary it is affecting our health and well being and we can't enjoy the house. Go out into the garden they don't like us doing that either. Please can someone help?
Liss - 13-Sep-20 @ 2:48 AM
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