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Your Rights Under Noise & Statutory Nuisance Act 1993

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 23 Jun 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 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
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
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