Noise from businesses
1. Noise from music and entertainment
Many people enjoy nights out in pubs and clubs, but sometimes the level of noise from the music can be a real problem for neighbours.
Many pubs, restaurants and other premises are licensed for regulated entertainment which can include music and dancing. There will likely be conditions on the individual licence regarding the times the entertainment can be conducted along with restrictions on audibility. Complaints in relation to licensed premises should be addressed to the Licensing Enforcement Officer in the first instance.
How do I complain?
- Firstly consider speaking direct to the business. They may be unaware of quite how noisy they are.
- If this fails then contact our Licensing Enforcement Officers with your complaint details.
- You may also take your own action in the form of requesting a review of the licence for the premises. In this instance please contact the Licensing Section for the appropriate form.
How are complaints dealt with?
The matter may be dealt with in one or more of the following ways;
- Liaising informally with the business owners to resolve things amicably
- Establishing whether there is enough evidence to ‘review’ the licence. This could have the effect of either suspending or revoking the licence or amending some or all of the conditions attached to the licence. There would be a hearing and evidence from neighbours can add strength to the case.
- The noise may be classed as a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, if appropriate. This can result in service of a notice requiring abatement of the noise. Failure to comply can result in prosecution and/or seizure of noise equipment.
- There is a Night Noise Offence which results in the service of a £500 fixed penalty notice. The offence has to occur between the hours of 11pm and 7am. Following service of a warning notice on the offending premises, the enforcement officer will take noise readings and if the noise of the event within the complaints dwelling is greater than 10dB above the background noise level, a fixed penalty notice may be served.
2. Noise from General Commercial Businesses
Sometimes businesses as part of their normal day to day running may cause noise problems with their equipment and machinery. This can be deemed a statutory nuisance in extreme cases and require enforcement action. You can also take your own action if you wish.
What is meant by ‘statutory nuisance’?
Statutory nuisance is often described as an unreasonable interference with the enjoyment of your property. It must occur regularly and must continue for a time that makes it unreasonable.
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.
Some businesses may have a pollution permit which restricts the amount of noise nuisance they can cause.