Complaining about nuisance problems
How to complain about a nuisance
If the nuisance is coming from another source (for example your neighbour's DIY, bonfire or a barking dog) then this is the procedure to follow:
In the first instance you should see whether the problem can be resolved informally between you. Sometimes the person causing the nuisance just doesn't know that they are causing a problem.
- If this doesn't resolve matters, then contact us either using our online form (above) or by email or telephone 01664 502502 to let us know what the problem is.
What happens next?
- We may ask you to complete a record sheet which logs all incidents of the nuisance over a period of time, usually three weeks. Whilst we do not divulge the name of the person making the complaint, please note it may be obvious to them who that is.
- If we think there is a problem then we could install noise monitoring equipment for noise cases. We need to establish whether a statutory nuisance is occurring and witness this to take action.
- The action we take will depend on the nature of the problem and could range from writing a warning letter to serving a legal abatement notice.
If someone is found guilty of failing to comply with an abatement notice they can be fined up to a maximum of £5,000 for domestic noise and up to £20,000 for commercial noise. If we serve an abatement notice because of excessively loud music, but the problem continues, we may also seize all the sound equipment that is causing the problem.
For complaints about car or intruder alarms, we will deal with the matter on the day the complaint is made, or, if the complaint is received during the late evening, as soon as possible the next day. For other noise complaints, we will initiate an investigation as soon as practicable but within a maximum of 5 working days.
Taking your own legal action
There are times when, despite the best efforts of our officers we cannot obtain the evidence necessary to take action in respect of a noise nuisance; this can be due to the unpredictable or irregular nature of the noise. In such circumstances you may wish to consider taking your own legal action under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Please be aware that this can be an expensive process and you are encouraged to seek legal advice.
Briefly, the procedure is as follows:
- Keep a written record of the dates, times and nature of the noise and make the notes at the time the noise occurs. It is helpful if some indication of the effect of the noise can be included, for example, "so loud I couldn't hear my own TV".
- Give notice to the person responsible for the noise that you intend to make a complaint to the Magistrates' Court.
- Make the complaint to the Court.
- Give evidence at the court hearing.