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Your Rights Under Noise & Statutory Nuisance Act 1993

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 26 Apr 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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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
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?
Iking - 22-Mar-17 @ 8:32 PM
Kei2000" - Your Question:
No one in our flats are complaining just me and one other. But a young lad plays music really loud all through the day and all through night. You can feel it thudding in our flat no joke! Clumsily ain't doing anything because it's just us complaining. But only so long I can put up with it as I have to work but can't sleep because of his really loud annoying music. We even showed cpuncol a book of timeline it started and finished, recordings of his loud music. I just don't feel like it's a home anymore.

Our Response:
Which department of the council did you complain to? It should be your environmental health department...they have a duty to investigate and to take action where appropriate.
ProblemNeighbours - 22-Mar-17 @ 10:28 AM
No one in our flats are complaining just me and one other. But a young lad plays music really loudall through the day and all through night. You can feel it thudding in our flat no joke! Clumsily ain't doing anything because it's just us complaining. But only so long I can put up with it as I have to work but can't sleep because of his really loud annoying music. We even showed cpuncol a book of timeline it started and finished, recordings of his loud music. I just don't feel like it's a home anymore.
Kei2000" - 19-Mar-17 @ 8:51 AM
Hi, can the council take any legal action against a private tenant who's mother owns the property? He is a nuisance neighbour who receives housing benefit. What is the law regarding his mother's responsibility regarding her son being a nuisance and action she should take to stop his behaviour even after the council has intevened. We have been told the council have no powers to evict him because he isn't a council tenant. Thanks Lee
Lee - 20-Feb-17 @ 8:19 PM
Sam - Your Question:
I am living in staff accommodation at a hospital. I live on the top floor and every half an hour a machine in the roof (I assume it's some kind of pump) 'revs up'. It is incredibly loud and continues throughout the night. It must be directly above me. Is there anything I can do about this? Where do I stand in demanding increased insulation or having this machine switched off at night time? It's seriously affecting my sleep and consequently my work!

Our Response:
Speak to the landlord first of all. If it's really loud and disturbing, you could try environmental health. They may help the landlord with advice on how to lessen the impact of the noise.
ProblemNeighbours - 16-Feb-17 @ 12:17 PM
I am living in staff accommodation at a hospital. I live on the top floor and every half an hour a machine in the roof (I assume it's some kind of pump) 'revs up'. It is incredibly loud and continues throughout the night. It must be directly above me. Is there anything I can do about this? Where do I stand in demanding increased insulation or having this machine switched off at night time? It's seriously affecting my sleep and consequently my work!
Sam - 15-Feb-17 @ 6:56 PM
My neighbor has for the last year on & off being doing diy with people he works with although there earlier he never starts before 8 o'clock & carrys on sometimes til 12 or 1 o'clock drilling sanding & generally banging about. I have a 4 year old & 15 months old girls who don't get a decent sleep because of this. Is it worth contacting the council as after reading these other people they don't seem to do anything.
Wigo - 9-Feb-17 @ 10:23 PM
Sorry to hear how you feel Mouse, I to feel the feel the same. I very recently done a mutual exchange with a family, as was living with my up until he passed away and I had to downsize because living in a 3 bedroom house. Because of an arrangement between myself and the landlord and I paid full rent I am in a 2 bed flat, the upstairs neighbour is living in the flat above because has custody at the weekends of his 2 children, I get the door slamming all hours of the day and night, the stomping up the stairs that are attached to the outside of my living room wall, the loose flooring and the partially laminated flooring in the flat when the loose boards are stood on the going right through your body and soul including the whole flat, deliberate banging on the walls shouting, loud talking constant flushing the toilet as well as hearing him using to loo, plate slamming and the new one having sex not that you time an egg for the length of time. I have to get up and out early for work each do have problems sleeping, one morning I was awoken by a of load noise above my bedroom at 2.30am which with left me with no prober sleep with only a couple of hours sleep beforehand, I didn’t complain at the time as it was too early in the morning to do so, I waited until got from work where I would of claim down by that time, so with that knocked on his door and politely said to him I didn’t appreciate being woken up at the time of the noise and I didn’t to end up having to go to the landlord and hoping we were adult enough to sort it between us, to that I got told ‘I shouldn’t be living in that flat, it should be a family living there’. I told him my living arrangement is not his business and he started to threaten me. I to feel I’m at a loss, I am being treated for depression, which has got worse because I feel I am being victimised on purpose because I knocked on his door. I to do feel suicidal because I can’t relax, don’t feel at home, can’t settle I am the edge all the time and I sit and relax has I have in sit the spare room to get away from the noise above the living room…
Buster2372 - 8-Feb-17 @ 6:02 PM
Mouse - Your Question:
I live in a tower block and my neighbours are so noisy. I'm woken up in the early hours every single day by stomping, banging, door slamming, shouting and their kids screaming and crying. There is also all night parties lasting uniting the early hours and these happen on weekdays as well as weekends. I have mental health issues and physical health issues and I am constantly stressed. I'm at the point now where I'm thinking about suicide because I just can't cope anymore.

Our Response:
You should contact your landlord about this behaviour. There will undoubtedly be rules in the tenancy agreements about noise etc. Also contact your local environmental health department...note that you'll be asked about the duration of the noise and when it occurs, so keep a diary for a week or so.
ProblemNeighbours - 7-Feb-17 @ 12:42 PM
Mouse, I'm sorry that you have to endure such a harsh inconvenience.I encourage you to reach out to the property management and complain about the noise nuisance. And please call 1 800 273 8255 suicide prevention hotline.Your life is valuable and has meaning.You are irreplaceable.Please call the hotline.
Liz - 6-Feb-17 @ 9:53 PM
I live in a tower block and my neighbours are so noisy. I'm woken up in the early hours every single day by stomping, banging, door slamming, shouting and their kids screaming and crying. There is also all night parties lasting uniting the early hours and these happen on weekdays as well as weekends. I have mental health issues and physical health issues and I am constantly stressed. I'm at the point now where I'm thinking about suicide because I just can't cope anymore.
Mouse - 6-Feb-17 @ 2:31 PM
Hi Just a general thought. If you are doing something that is bothering your neighbour then you need to STOP doing it. Whether you are closing a door loudly, playing your TV at a high volume or incessantly DIYing, just THINK how you are making your neighbour feel and try to show them the respect they deserve.
Ken - 6-Feb-17 @ 8:14 AM
I have a neighbour who objects to the sound of my TV. The local authority & Police say my TV sound is OK. My hearing aids whistle very loudly if I wear headphones which is very painful. She now loudly uses a sliding bedroom door to wake me up at 05.30am every day. In 28 years in this house I have never heard these doors being used on either side of my house. What action can I take to stop this please???
Mike - 24-Jan-17 @ 4:23 PM
I work full time on a night shift 10-6 Mon-Fri. A housing estated is being built less than 50 metresfrom our house. In fact its right outside my bedroom. Do I have any rights regardingnoise from plant and corse language? Or is it just my fault for working nights.
Tony H - 24-Jan-17 @ 10:26 AM
Hi,i my self sangita has been suffuring from a harsh noise coming from my neighbours water pump machin,it is not like other machins sound.may thier pump has a low quality or whatever.when ever their running of the pump our house got a very much noiseus effect nd a vibration is also in the wall of mine.4 that i told them but it did not work.i lodged a problem in local all authority,dm,sp it no work.
Payel - 21-Jan-17 @ 11:45 AM
I have tennents renting above me who start thumping boxes and all sorts around ,talking loudly and walking around with shoes on from 10 45 pm to 1.30 am every night . He was also asked to move his bike that he persists to keep the communal hallway, which will invalidate any building insurance in an event of a fire he told my neighbour and I can do what the f*** i like" and blue kisses in our face . I had to knock the other night at 12:50 in the morning as I have hardly had any sleep for two weeks. and told me he could do what he likes. I've contacted the estate agent and the environmental health and also keeping a diary I'm epileptic and I struggle with sleep deprivation , its making me so unhappyi just cry and I don't know what to do ! I'm a single women on my own . And the agent say they can do nothing ! I've now contacted the police noise unit but it's hopeless. ??
Ems - 20-Jan-17 @ 10:28 PM
Hi, we are married couple live on top of a single guy late forties, who recently stopped working stays at home 24/7. My partner leaves around 6am works long hours im home most days throughout the week. Every morning when husband leaves he sneezes loudly waits for a reaction im naturally usually awake to breifly pray , read or have drink, seems very creepy. Always seems to be when husband isnt there. I have Told hubby and he has "sneezed back" loudly few times!!but he still continues not sure if he is racist?! But its damn creepy! Also yawns loudly and if i have finished cleaning or showering he will sigh loudly too. Once i was vacuuming and he started to blast music! We can't even clean! He seems obsessed in stopping carrying out daily things...I get theres a noise issue as we live above but I hardly move around that much now as I can sense he will try to intimidate by his noises.
LorenSyz - 19-Jan-17 @ 11:45 AM
Curtis Elliott - Your Question:
Hi, I have to get up at 4:30am Mon-Fri every other week. We have sliding doors from the front room to the kitchen, we also have two cats that we don't want climbing the kitchen work tops whenever they want so whenever we open the sliding doors we close them soon after. My neighbour seems to think that this is waking him up. It doesn't happen often but when it does he shouts at the top of his voice to let me know I have 'woken' him up. I am trying to be as quiet as possible but when rushing around to get read for work it is not always possible to be silent with these sliding doors. How nobody has asked him to stop shouting is beyond me but he seems to think I am in the wrong for going to work. Is there anything that can be done to stop him from moaning? Or am I actually in the wrong? Any advice on this matter will be much appreciated as his ranting is starting to annoy me. I think me and my girlfriend are good neighbours. Rarely have music or the tv on loud, do housework at reasonable hours of the day don't argue loudly. So why me trying to get ready for work is so terrible to him I don't know. Also if he worked shifts as I do and needed sleep due to being at work and not having chance to get any rest at any other times of the day it would be understandable, still annoying but at least understandable. He doesn't work nor has commitments for early in the morning so I just don't get it. Thank you, Curtis.

Our Response:
It's a difficult one for you but, maybe at 4.30am this noise does sound louder than you realise. Is there anything you can do avoid using the doors or just using them once?
ProblemNeighbours - 17-Jan-17 @ 10:32 AM
Hi, I have to get up at 4:30am Mon-Fri every other week. We have sliding doors from the front room to the kitchen, we also have two cats that we don't want climbing the kitchen work tops whenever they want so whenever we open the sliding doors we close them soon after. My neighbour seems to think that this is waking him up. It doesn't happen often but when it does he shouts at the top of his voice to let me know I have 'woken' him up. I am trying to be as quiet as possible but when rushing around to get read for work it is not always possible to be silent with these sliding doors. How nobody has asked him to stop shouting is beyond me but he seems to think I am in the wrong for going to work. Is there anything that can be done to stop him from moaning? Or am I actually in the wrong? Any advice on this matter will be much appreciated as his ranting is starting to annoy me. I think me and my girlfriend are good neighbours. Rarely have music or the tv on loud, do housework at reasonable hours of the day don't argue loudly. So why me trying to get ready for work is so terrible to him I don't know. Also if he worked shifts as I do and needed sleep due to being at work and not having chance to get any rest at any other times of the day it would be understandable, still annoying but at least understandable. He doesn't work nor has commitments for early in the morning so I just don't get it. Thank you, Curtis.
Curtis Elliott - 16-Jan-17 @ 6:56 AM
Fed up!!- Your Question:
Hi, really need some advice, my partner has to wake up every morning at 6 for work and new neighbours are very noisy. It's Sunday night at 2:33AM and I have asked them to reduce the volume of music but they haven't! Is there anything I can do?

Our Response:
If this occurs regularly your local environmental health officer will be able to take action or at the very least, investigate the matter. If it's a one-off incident or the noise is generally before 11pm, it's less likely they'll be able to do anything.
ProblemNeighbours - 10-Jan-17 @ 10:24 AM
I have an upstairs neighbour who every Sunday plays stupidly loud music at 9am. As Sunday is usually my only day off its my only chance for a lie in. I've asked her to turn it down or off and she just laughed and said "I can do whatever I want after 9am I'm not turning it off". I've tried complaining to the estate agent who manage the block they're as useful as a chocolate teapot. I've made a complaint to the noise team at the council but they never got back to me. I'm going to lose my mind eventually. She's such a rude person, she doesn't work just sits there all day playing music at stupid hours.
Ubm - 8-Jan-17 @ 10:42 AM
How long does it take an Environmental Health Officer to obtain a warrant from a Magistrate Court to remove music equipment? The offender in question has repeatedly violated a Noise Abatement Notice, which the officer has witnessed.
Liz - 8-Jan-17 @ 10:25 AM
Confused - Your Question:
I have recently noticed the smell of drugs, ie cannabis coming into my house from student accommodation next door. In fact our landing stank of drugs. However I don't want to make a complaint to the landlord in case the students are smoking a smelly kind of tobacco that smells like cannabis.But then again I don't want the house smelling of drugs.

Our Response:
If you don't want to report this, thenyour only other option is to speak to the occupants yourself and ask them to stop.
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Jan-17 @ 12:47 PM
I have recently noticed the smell of drugs, ie cannabis coming into my house from student accommodation next door. In fact our landing stank of drugs.However I don't want to make a complaint to the landlord in case the students are smoking a smelly kind of tobacco that smells like cannabis. But then again I don't want the house smelling of drugs.
Confused - 5-Jan-17 @ 1:44 PM
I own my flat but next door are a family of council tenants. For the last 5 years i have had problems with noise as we share 2 rooms over a stairwell which amplifies the noise. They have a chold who runs around constantly and the mother screams with laughter late into the night. They also stay up until around 2am, slamming doors etc. The soundproofing in the flat is so appalling that I can literally hear everything. The council went in and asked them to put down carpets but I suspect they may have taken them up again, all they did was lay a carpet over their laminate floor which didnt really help as the laminate is still there. There is also a clause in our agreement which states that we can't have laminate flooring as we're upstairs. The council were rude to me when i complained and wrote me a letter implying I was making a fuss over nothing. They don't work sk only speep for about 5 hours, whereas I have a full time job which this is affecting. I'm worried about selling my flat if i have to declare i have had lots of problems with their noise. Am I right to keep complaining? The dad is the only one who speaks English, I have tried to speak to him on many occasions but he just says it's not them, it's the flat.
Isabel - 2-Jan-17 @ 10:11 PM
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