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What Constitutes Noise Pollution?

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 28 Jun 2020 | comments*Discuss
 
Noise Pollution Advice Noisy Neighbours

Noise levels can be a real problem in any neighbourhood and there are many issues surrounding noise pollution in a residential area that are covered by Government Legislation. These include what you can and cannot do, what steps you could take to minimise the problems caused by potentially excessive noise, and what action could be taken against you if you don’t reduce your noise levels.

In terms of the problems excessive noise can cause, most disagreements and arguments between neighbours can often be avoided if they are forewarned about potential ‘occasional’ situations which are likely to result in excessive noise. However, while excessive noise can be the result of a planned situation, sometimes it’s completely unplanned or somewhat out of your control. Even in these situations, there are still some precautionary measures you can take.

Parties, Loud Music and Excessive Noise

Reasonable neighbours are not usually ‘killjoys’ and most of us will want to have a party celebration at some time or another. The best way of avoiding any problems with your neighbours is to tell them in advance that you are Planning A Party, what time it’s going to start and, more importantly, what time you’re planning to end it (or at least the time by which you’ll ensure that they won’t be disturbed by excessive noise – usually related to loud music but also by rowdy conversations and boisterous behaviour).

In terms of the ending time, it’s not unreasonable to expect your neighbours to agree to a finishing time of the ‘noisy’ element to a party to, say, by 11pm or midnight. That’s not to say you can have the volume at whatever level you want, as there are strict laws surrounding that issue. Ending at midnight also doesn’t mean that the party can’t continue beyond that time, but you’ll need to keep the music and the noise down to a reasonable level so as not to disturb neighbours.

You also need to take even greater care and be more sensitive to your neighbours if you’re planning on holding the party outside in the garden, where noise travels more easily and where its impact is felt even greater. Better still, why not invite the neighbours?

DIY Projects

Once again, you should let your neighbours know that you are planning a DIY project where both manual and/or power equipment such as hammers and electric drills are being used. Everybody needs to do a bit of DIY now and then so they should be reasonable enough to understand. Agree working hours with your neighbours. You should be courteous enough not to begin any earlier than 8am and not to finish beyond 8pm. These are reasonable requests to make yet if your immediate neighbours have young children, you might wish to consider only carrying out DIY projects at weekends when the children are off school.

Alarm Systems

Both burglar and car alarm systems can cause extreme noise pollution and can be one of the biggest causes of agitation among neighbours. Most modern alarm systems come fitted with cut off devices these days which silences the alarm after, perhaps, 20 minutes or so.

Obviously, the problems caused by alarms going off usually arise when they are beyond your control. You’re likely to not even be at home to switch the alarm off manually, but there are still precautionary measures you can take, such as leaving a spare set of keys with trusted friends, family members or even other neighbours who can gain entry to a car or house and immobilise the device on your behalf.

If you arrange for this, be sure to let your local council and local police station know the contact details for the people who have been entrusted with this task. Both the police and council do have the authority to immobilise alarm systems themselves by whatever means necessary, and this can incur extra expense to you.

Incessant Dog Barking constitutes noise pollution and this is covered in more depth in another article contained on this website.

Who to contact

Depending on the nature of the noise, the time of day it occurs and the circumstances surrounding it, if matters can’t be resolved and get out of hand, you should contact either the Environmental Health Department of your local authority or the police - in which case dial 101. You should not dial 999 unless it is an emergency.

Your first port of call should be your neighbour, try to approach your neighbour in a calm manner in order to explain the issues you have. Don't try to raise your concerns while the noise is taking place as your more likely to be angry and more prone to arguing. If your neighbour is unwilling to compromise and the noise pollution continues you can take the matter further and contact your local authority, as they have a duty to take the matter seriously and investigate further, and if necessary take court action. You can submit a complaint to your local authority at www.gov.uk, where you will also find information about how to deal with noisy neighbours.

For more information about the law on noise pollution in your area, you should check out your local authority’s website to ensure that you are complying with the law or you could face heavy penalties.

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I brought a house in a what I thought was a quite neighbourhood. My house is a semi and on one side several garages from a neighbouring street backs on to the side of my garden. We have always had a problem with one particular neighbour who used his garage to store and fix large speakers and amplifiers and would test them occasionally which would cause windows and doors to vibrate. My immediate neighbour says he has been complaining to the council about it for years but nothing substantial has happened yet and the problem continues. Now that I work part-time and at home more often, I have experienced this problem more often as well as putting up with commercial vehicles, loading and unloading equipment and large groups of men outside and inside the garage working, when they leave the garage door open. I have complained to the council about the noise and use of the garage for commercial purpose on several occasions but so far they have done nothing about it, telling me I need to keep a log of the noise, dates and times for them to investigate and prosecute. I told them I have CCTV which records times when they gather outside the garage, but the council doesn't seem interested. The offending neighbours are also clever and schedule their activities at irregular times and dates to avoid detection by the authorities. Is there any other body I can complain to, as I feel the local council/officer is not taking the matter seriously.
Aga1972 - 28-Jun-20 @ 8:42 AM
I like music .. a lot. My neighbours ... don't. They very rarely go out either. I now DJ in the kitchen after moving my speakers from the front room which shares their wall. I also have a youngish family and and in bed by 9 most nights. I only play music fri / sat / sun for a few hours in the afternoon always stopped by 7. Yes its bass heavy music but I don't use my sub any more. If we are in the garden yes they will hear it but not overly loud. Is that not acceptable ?
TheGrumpyOne - 22-Jun-20 @ 10:24 AM
We had an old neighbour who lived alone and was a huge problem.He would call the Police and say he could hear screaming in our home, tell them his wife was missing (she was dead).Anyway, long story short, turns out he had psychosis, fell down the stairs, and died.Out of 40 years, we had 1 of peace.He had been a problem all that time.The house sold to a rental landlord.Guess what?Problem family have moved in.They all have issues, the mother has 3 lads by 3 different dads.The middle son has ADHD and does drugs, the eldest just got out of prison and has just moved in.her druggie boyfriend (who the youngest kid belongs to) has moved in to.Her landlord doesn't give a hoot.They caused lots of problems for 2 years before she and I went to mediation arranged through the council.She walked out of the meeting and now clearly thinks she can do what she likes.I know its a horrible thing to say, but I hope she dies. I hate her so much she makes me physically sick.Her dogs bark and she just lets them.I'm glad I go to work but my poor husband has to stay home.I never thought I could hate someone so much, but I do, I really do.
Becoming intolerant - 5-May-20 @ 7:31 PM
I live in a flat and our neighbours just opposite our door blast their music from 12:00 until sometimes midnight. I have contacted the council and they are "investigating" the offense and it's been 3 weeks now. We cant even enjoy watching tv let alone read or just spend a quiet time with the Family. My wife works for the NHS and she is constantly having headaches and is feeling drained due to the lack of sleep. I really cant understand why people have to blast their music! I'm having high blood pressure issues now and desperate! It feels good to talk to other people in the same situation and hope everyone else find their light at the end of the tunnel. Keep safe.
HAK - 5-May-20 @ 6:19 PM
I live next to a deaf old couple and every conversation is a shouting match. I am at the point now where I know way to much about there finances and grandkids coz we hear every word. And tv always full blast or Frank sanatra blasting in the garden. I work long days so it doesn't bother me I have some time of work to decorate my living room and they are constantly banging on the walls and windows. The noise from there house is constant and I never complain. They have even sent there relatives round to threaten me. Luckily it was my dad who answered the door I don't think its unreasonable to put a few screws in the wall mid week and mid day. I tried to apologise they say it's fine then there daughter is hanging over fences screaming after an hour.
Lc - 15-Apr-20 @ 3:39 PM
I'm living in a council flat on the 3rd floor. I have my neighbors exactly on top of my flat. I'm living with another 2 people (a couple) So out story started by 3 years ago since they started to make the parties. We went upstairs few times at each time. Midnight or later 1am and more times. Asked them gently and nicely to turn down the music and stop dancing cos we can hear clearly everything. Nothing happened. Called council few times.They said we are coming coming hold on. 3 hours later they were still on the way so we had to give up. In the last 2 years party time less. But now we have to deal with their kids. Running . Screaming . Crying in 24/7 . Moving things like suchfurnitures. Throwing things on the floor playing ball games and washing machine still working at midnight. And yes we called council again and Surprisedly nothing happened. Also these people coming from Africa. Kinda scared of them. . We don't know what we can do anymore. Thinking to call child protection agency. It's really the last thing what I would do but there is no one optionwho could help us. Council do nothing. Asked me to call them when it's noise happening. But they won't do anything if the noise before 11pm. It's really impossible to accept that to find a new home cos some people don't know that how to show respect to another neighbors and how to raise their own child. If anybody know something help please let me know. I can give my email in private.
Ogavok01 - 11-Feb-20 @ 6:42 PM
I have got a tenant who lives above my flat he has been playing his music very loud and also he has been throwing food on my doorstep and he knocking on my door and then he hides himself in his flat I had to clean it up and when I asked him he said that he has done anything wrong I have just lost my partner and I am not keeping well I have informed the landlord and nothing has been done around 11:10pm this evening he has been playing his music so loud as has banged on my ceiling I want this stopped
Priya - 25-Oct-19 @ 11:19 PM
We don't know who Ez bought one of all numbers and of another party and of inclusion are screamers where and it has compost Harvey and it's around Sunday lane area and Asia in the outfield song for the honour and cancer round here the swearing taking off and Lisabeth massive party for and on his quitely entrance of this was sleepier and it's not fair and they do it every week
Loo - 1-Sep-19 @ 12:31 AM
I live in a residential area although there is a social club and a mini brewery, the mini brewery is great for the events they put on but at times, all you can hear is very loud boom bass music and it goes on until 2am? Is this legal? Also a couple of the neighbours have outside parties til half 4 in the morning with the music blasting. I’m not the only one in this area who feels like this, there are a few people around. Just wondering what the legal situation is on these
Pepsi - 28-Jul-19 @ 12:15 AM
I amrefurbishmentthe shop. There is a Neighbour live on top of my shop.We started work from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, there was no noise after that. after 6:00pm I just cleaned up and they also Complain, they told me 7:30 pm i have to stop.Even when we put the music on.sometimes can’t even hear anything but they stil can complain .they keep come down andcomplain every day. I was very upset they called the landlord too.
A&j - 19-Jun-19 @ 8:39 PM
I live in a detached house, and never had any problems with noisy neighbours, until about a year ago the neighbours on one side have abarking dashund dog, barking as and when, and waking me outside my bedroom window. I am 71 and was so looking forward to my retirement. I asked them could they keep the dog quieter...nothing, the council were involved....nothing. Then out of the blue they started slamming shut their external doors shut.I asked them could they plane them down if they were weather warped, again nothing. They say they are trying, and it goes quieter for a while, but then starts up again. On top of this there is a builder down the road, working on many houses for the last year, insists on his radio blaring out. I have just paid out thousands of pounds to have secondary glazing fitted, but the noise is so loud it comes right though the walls. I'm not anti social, and have lovedmy music all my life....but because of all this noise I now have to wear earplugs 24/7, no music ever, and am just a physical and mental mess, not living just existing. The council have told me there is nothing can be done.
Jasmine - 17-Feb-19 @ 6:16 PM
I have been off work ill for nearly 5 months. I know my neighbour has reported me for noise. She has a machine she switches on at the slightest noise . One of my medications can keep me awake at night and i am now too scared to put my tv on which i have on volume 1 ( so it is quite quiet) The trouble is the nieghbour sleeps downstairs in a room with a gas fire. She has had a man in her house since the beging of December 2018 and they sit talking or you can hear my neighbour getting irrate. In the middle of the night they have woke me up knocking on the wall between our ajoined houses . This morning around 5/6 o'clock my neighbours male friend chucked a can under my front window but i sat quite as i had all night just looking at fb. He then got hold of my flower basket under my front window and twanged it twice. I then heard my neighbour say is she a sleep. It was like they were trying to atagonise me into making noise or confronting them. I work for the council myself taking these type of calls . I am being quite at night and i might drop the odd thing by accident. I dare not even put my kettle on for a drink and to be honest I am feeling rather intimidated.
GIN - 20-Jan-19 @ 11:01 AM
Hi. My son plays the drums. He’s had a new kit for two weeks now. He plays for 15-20 mins 3 times a week. Never before 9am and never after 6.30 pm. My neighbours have reported us to the housing for constant banging of loud drums. We have been told by our housing we are in breach of out tenancy for anti social behaviour. Is this correct? We have silencer pads on the drums. They are not being play constantly at all. I do believe the neighbours record every time he plays. Are we being unreasonable at all?
Mandy - 19-Jan-19 @ 11:42 AM
Our back garden joins the backgardens of a long row of terraced houses. I cannot clearly see these gardens due to trees and high bushes, so I cannot 'pin down' which house is responsible. But, for a few years now, this particular house has incorporated chime bells and coconut shells that constantly ring and bash together. It was awful in the summer, but now the winter weather is upon us, it is AWFUL! It must be affecting dozens of other homes that surround it. As I don't know which house it is, I don't know what I can do. I don't feel I have the sort of relationship with my fellow immediate neighbours to 'join' forces' as it were, as people keep themselves to themselves around here. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Ells - 28-Nov-18 @ 4:46 PM
Our neighbour is a DIY freak. At least once a month a new project takes place and I hear banging and sawing, drilling etc. Then in the evening they watch TV/movies/play music with a lot of bass. I work nights. I feel so exhausted I'm actually considering quitting my job. But I have financial commitments that would really make people suffer. I'm a light sleeper but I don't expect no noise at all. I'm perfectly fine with noise now and again, but the regular projects and loud bass at night/evening gives me no time to sleep. They only sleep when it's time for me to go to work, which I'm often late for now due to lack of sleep and being incredibly tired. I also feel I'm developing health problems at least in part due to this issue. They've lived in the house for almost 15 years, I don't know what he keeps working on. I believe he is a busy idiot but what can I do??? This is killing me and destroying my relationships.
Joe - 23-Nov-18 @ 8:19 PM
I have lived at my address for 30yrs. Never had problems with kids around here. Recentley a family with kids has moved in oppersite. Since then continual ball bouncing against a wall day an late eve early wkend mornings aswell its really like torture we have to shut our windows an door we dont sit in our garden any more because of it. Are we able to do anything. As its so irritating. There are two large parks nxt to were we live 2mins away.
Sharon - 26-Jul-18 @ 5:15 PM
We live in a retirement complex which we rent from a housing assoc. When we viewed the scheme we shown around designated seating areas. Our flat over looks the car park & grass. Since moving in some of the neighbours use the grass area for daily gatherings & not the designated seating areas as they dont want the noise of others using it. Its a block of 26 flats & 5 of the flats use the area outside our flat every day for up to 7 hrs a day. My husband suffered a stroke 3 mths ago & the noise affected him so much we had to leave our home for a day for him to get some peace. The landlord & the scheme manager are aware of whats gone on. Eventually all furniture was removed but the 5 flats have hagged the scheme manager repeatedly to have the furniture back. He caved in again & allowed it on Wednesday of this week. He put out furniture & went on leave. I had to go through the process of contacting the anti social behaviour team & our managers area manager to get it removed again. The asbo team dont understand why this is being allowed to go on as the retirement scheme as 2 designated seating areas & as said the grassed areas arent to be used. Now there is talk of a piece of garden area to the left of our flat being concreted to install furniture. We honestly cant go like this my husbands trying to tecover from a stroke & needs rest I'm at my wits end with worry & stress over my husbands health but also this furniture problem. I have emailed my mp & the ceo of the housing association as ghe scheme manager seems inadequate at saying no to these 5 sets of tenants causing so much stress.The police got involved as well due to a row that broke out between me ^ the residents, where one resident said my husband was playing it & swinging it, it being the stroke. Which sickens me. I could understand when we moved here if I had taken a flat facing or near designated seating areas but I didnt as I didnt want the noise. This as all happened since moving in. At times theres up to 8 residents with some of their family sitting outside as soon as suns out till after 7 at night. Constant chattering laughing calling to others to join in. We feel like moving but we havent the energy nor the health to move again. Any advice much appreciated
Matilda - 21-Jul-18 @ 1:25 PM
We have lived in our house for nearly 15 years and never had any problem with the neighbours. In the last two months they have put a radio in the garden on a timer that starts at 0730 and ends at 2130 every day whether they are there or not and the noise level is 45 dba when measured at my back door.In the recent good weather we've had it has meant that we couldn't have our windows or doors open.
Sisquinanamook - 21-Jul-18 @ 8:11 AM
My neighbour blasts very loud thumping music out of their summer house volume 10into neighbouring gardens every weekend not the neighbours you can talk to if you know my drift any way they would just turn it up more there is more stuff for 10 years 7months they have intimidated and threaten & harassed me & my family in our own home HELP
had enough - 8-Jul-18 @ 11:30 AM
ellzee - Your Question:
Neighbours are just changing their oak faced upvc windows for white finish. All the other properties (cul de sac of 6 bungalows) have either rosewood or oak upvc. The properties were built in the mid 1980s all with wood finished windows. This is not in keeping with the rest and, quite honestly, looks awful.He also has ignored the deed covenant by keeping a motor home in the front of the property.Is there anything that can be done to keep the front of the property the same as the rest and get the motor home moved and who should I contact

Our Response:
Is the window colour or anything related to appearance specified in the deeds? If not, there's not much you can do about that. The motorhome issue can be dealt with via the courts if it's a breach of covenant.
ProblemNeighbours - 5-Jul-18 @ 3:38 PM
Neighbours are just changing their oak faced upvc windows for white finish. All the other properties (cul de sac of 6 bungalows) have eitherrosewood or oak upvc. The properties were built in the mid 1980s all with wood finished windows. This is not in keeping with the rest and, quite honestly, looks awful. He also has ignored the deed covenant by keeping a motor home in the front of the property. Is there anything that can be done to keep the front of the property the same as the rest and get the motor home moved and who should I contact
ellzee - 2-Jul-18 @ 9:37 PM
Need Direction, Since last year our neighbors( tenants) constantly making knocking noises. No, it is not building work. Making ie, manufacturer the items. Contact local Council, not much help, while they are in our house, not much to hear. When noise comes, they say, itis not much to follow up. Need recording proofs. Contact Local Police, notice the noise but could not get access to neighbours to sort out when they do come back, no noise, no follow up. Contact Landlord denied accepting. They say, we have checked up, nothing there. No tools, no pieces of equipment. We are residence over 30 years, now as we getting older, our home should be relaxing place but opposite. Thanks, Wait to hear from all.
SRK - 24-Jun-18 @ 2:18 PM
Jojo - Your Question:
We have lived in our house which we part rent part buy for almost 6 years it's a semidetached. Our neightbour in that period has complained about 6 times about the volume of our TV and music etc. We have always apologised and tried hard to keep the sound down. He says the walls are things and he can't hear his tv. This morning my partner put a film on early too early really anyway he hammered on the door told us how 8n considerate we were as he couldn't have a line on and was tired of the noise late at night and early morning and we should show consideration as we are now being monitored by the council. We have received nothing from the council but now we don't know what we can and can't do. We do usually put tv on before 7 but we are in bed before 10. Our dog is young and sometimes bark. Now I feel really confused and concerned. My partner lost his mum in Jan I lost 3 aunties and his dad us now in hospital. Being evicted 9snt what we want. Should we get a decibel metre any advise greatly given

Our Response:
Why not talk to the council (environmental health). Tell them your neighbours are complaining about the noise and that you don't feel you are unreasonably noisy and would like some advice. They should be able to tell you about times when you can create most/least noise and may be willing to assess the noise levels of TV etc.
ProblemNeighbours - 29-May-18 @ 3:20 PM
Michael - Your Question:
I also failed to say the council,architect or the landlord failed to mention work was being done on the house next door. They thru a large bit of plastic on our lean too.so we are not getting any light! I understand that people have to do things to improve their property but as we live in a terraced house their is no escape from the sounds. We might have to think about going away from Monday to Friday to escape the noise. As the next door neighbour we don't know our legal rights or what we can complain about as the law is so vague. I would have thought before work began that someone from the council before approving works determined how it effects neighbours. We are at number 5 and number 3 and 1 are both having extensive works being done. Also because we where told on the day works began it seems the landlord has a devil may care attitude! If there is damage caused by the builders,scaffolders etc where do we stand?????

Our Response:
The council does not have to inform you if neighbours are about to start work. If planning permission is required, you may be consulted as a neighbour, but note that lots of work falls under the "permitted development" umbrella and does not need planning permission. If builders damage your property, talk to them and see if their insurance will cover it. If they refuse, you can use the legal system. Regarding working at a weekend /bank holiday, if this occurs often at unsociable times, contact your environmental health department.
ProblemNeighbours - 29-May-18 @ 11:25 AM
We have lived in our house which we part rent part buy for almost 6 years it's a semidetached.Our neightbour in that period has complained about 6 times about the volume of our TV and music etc. We have always apologised and tried hard to keep the sound down. He says the walls are things and he can't hear his tv. This morning my partner put a film on early too early really anyway he hammered on the door told us how 8n considerate we were as he couldn't have a line on and was tired of the noise late at night and early morning and we should show consideration as we are now being monitored by the council. We have received nothing from the council but now we don't know what we can and can't do. We do usually put tv on before 7 but we are in bed before 10. Our dog is young and sometimes bark. Now I feel really confused and concerned.My partner lost his mum in Jan I lost 3 aunties and his dad us now in hospital.Being evicted 9snt what we want. Should we get a decibel metre any advise greatly given
Jojo - 28-May-18 @ 6:18 PM
I also failed to say the council,architect or the landlord failed to mention work was being done on the house next door. They thru a large bit of plastic on our lean too.....so we are not getting any light! I understand that people have to do things to improve their property but as we live in a terraced house their is no escape from the sounds. We might have to think about going away from Monday to Friday to escape the noise. As the next door neighbour we don't know our legal rights or what we can complain about as the law is so vague. I would have thought before work began that someone from the council before approving works determined how it effects neighbours. We are at number 5 and number 3 and 1 are both having extensive works being done. Also because we where told on the day works began it seems the landlord has a devil may care attitude! If there is damage caused by the builders,scaffolders etc where do we stand?????
Michael - 28-May-18 @ 10:17 AM
We have builders next door to us,we where not told building work is being done whatsoever,! Anyway they have started work this am on a bank holiday are they allowed to work on a bank holiday? If they are behind in work can they work Sunday. Woke at 7.55 am this morning. I am recovering from a brain tumour and the noise is upsetting to me.
Michael - 28-May-18 @ 10:06 AM
My neighbours have started partying on a Saturday evening /night/early morning,it's 3.00 am and I can still here them singing in the house(with the patio door open) . My daughter works in retail and has to beup for 6.00 am to get to work.This is not the first time, last week was the sameand last year I had to speak to their visitors about playing football in the garden at midnight.Am I being unreasonable?I have been ill (2 strokes,due to stress at work ) and need to get proper sleep (they are aware that I am a stroke survivor ) . Can I complain to environmental health and get support ?
Momma - 27-May-18 @ 3:19 AM
Hel - Your Question:
We moved into a rented house five weeks ago and have had three complaints from the neighbors on one side there are five of us three children and a dog. They came round the day after we moved to complain about the dog barking and have also complained that my sons playing football in the garden and the ball has hit the fence the kids won’t go out there now and have complained about cupboards banging there are five of us and we are not overly noisy I’m not sure where to go from here.

Our Response:
Talk to your landlord first of all...he/she may be willing to talk to the neighbours. To be honest the environmental health department will not take action in relation to children playing during the daytime. Your children should try and avoid hitting the fence with the ball of course. The best advice we can give is to simpy ignore it and to carry on as you are. Does your dog bark frequently? And do you stop it when it does?
ProblemNeighbours - 22-May-18 @ 2:20 PM
Motherftwins - Your Question:
I live across from a Laurette. It use 2 be small and quiet. Now that it's extended with big pipes and a big metal tank. Its noisy all day, which I've had 2 get use to. It's evening till 7 morning you hear a vibrate sound.It driving me mad that I decided 2 look up sound/vibrate apps 2 record sound and it was reading 20-24 db from evening till next morning.I just want quietness. What can be done?

Our Response:
Talk to your local environmental health officer and see if they can tell you if this is within acceptable levels.
ProblemNeighbours - 21-May-18 @ 3:30 PM
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