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Noise pollution impacts on thousands of people living in the UK every day. The impacts of noise nuisance can be significant leading to disruption, anxiety, irritation and, in serious cases, it can lead to stress, anger and loss of sleep. Noise is defined as unwanted sound.

What types of noise can lead to a noise nuisance?

Noise can come from a number of different sources and what may be pleasant to some people may be a nuisance to others. The main types of noise likely to cause noise nuisances have been identified as neighbour and domestic noise, barking dogs, transportation, construction and demolition, commercial and leisure and industrial.

What is the process of investigating a noise nuisance?

If you are troubled by noise there are several courses of action you may take:

  • If you are concerned about noise from a neighbour, local business, manufacturer or equipment in the street, initially it would best to approach the person responsible and explain the problem as they may not be aware. This approach will give an opportunity to resolve the problem.
  • Mediation can be an effective way to resolve noise issues with both sides discussing the matter with an independent mediator.
  • Make a complaint to the Local Authority.


Are there permitted levels of noise?

Different people react to noise in different ways. Noise levels that can cause extreme offence to one person may not impact on another. A noise may be irritating but not be a ‘statutory noise nuisance’.   There are no fixed levels of noise which constitute a statutory nuisance.

What constitutes a noise nuisance?

In deciding whether or not a noise is sufficient to amount to a statutory nuisance, the environmental health officer has to consider the reaction of the average, reasonable person to the noise, taking account not only of its volume, but also factors such as when and how often the noise occurs and the duration of the noise occurrence.

What is the main legislation in relation to noise nuisance?

The legal control on noise nuisance is by the local authority serving an abatement notice under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

What can you do to help yourself?

Individuals can take their own action to control noise under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Member companies of the ANC may be able to assist with investigation of noise nuisance. They may also be able to provide advice to individuals or companies who have been served with a noise abatement notice.