For noise to be considered a nuisance, it must be unreasonable and have a large impact on the use or enjoyment of your home. It does not cover issues such as inconvenience, annoyance, personal circumstances such as sleeping due to shift work or from an everyday activity such as a baby crying, talking or occasional dog barking.
What to do if you are affected by noise
In most cases we advise that the informal approach is the best course of action in the first instance. This gives the person responsible for the dust time to fix the problem, especially if they are not aware that a problem exists or to what extent it affects people nearby.
- Talk to the person responsible for causing the problem - they could be unaware that they are causing a problem. Do not attempt to do this if you feel threatened.
- Write to them - you may prefer to explain what the problem is in a letter as this can feel less confrontational.
If this does not work, we may be able to investigate your complaint.
What we can not investigate
- transport noise eg trains, traffic, aircraft
- general noise of people on the street
- reasonable noise from homes or commercial properties such as a baby crying or hoovering
What we are unlikely to investigate
- commercial complaints against other commercial properties
What we can investigate
- dog barking
- loud music
- loud entertainment from pubs or clubs
- noise from industrial and commercial premises
- noise from construction and demolition sites
We are unable to investigate anonymous complaints so you must provide your name, contact details and address to enable your complaint to be dealt with.
What we will do
We will assess your complaint to decide whether it could be a Statutory Noise Nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. If it is covered, we will investigate your complaint further. If it is not, then we will let you know and advise you who might be able to help if possible.
How a noise complaint will be investigated
We need to record the following sort of information to see whether the problem meets the legal test of 'Statutory Nuisance':
- how long it lasts
- how often it happens
- the surrounding environment
- the level and type of noise
In most instances, you will be asked to initially keep a record of when you are affected.
We use noise monitoring equipment to collect evidence of noise and you will be advised if this is needed. We may also collect other information on site visits, and contact with the person causing the noise. We do not share your details at any time.
What happens next
The evidence gathered in the investigation will decide what happens next.
If the evidence shows the presence of a Statutory Nuisance, we will serve a legal notice. This will make it against the law for the person causing the nuisance to carry on doing so. If they continue, we may take the person to court or take other steps to ensure the Notice is followed.
If the issue is investigated and is not a Statutory Nuisance then we will not take further formal action and we will let you and the other person know.
- Customer Services
- 03000 26 0000
Our address is:
- Durham County Council
- County Hall
- County Durham
- United Kingdom
- DH1 5UQ