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Report a problem with noise
A noise nuisance is an unreasonable amount of noise which has a serious or detrimental effect on your life. Noise can be upsetting and disturbing, but for the Council to take action, it needs to be more than a simple annoyance.
The process of determining whether noise constitutes a nuisance can be quite subjective. When deciding if the noise you are experiencing is a nuisance that we can take action for, our officers will assess a number of factors including:
the time of day the noise happens
how long the noise goes on for each time it happens
how often the noise happens
what type of noise it is and what causes it
how loud the noise is
where the noise is occurring and the character of the locality
General everyday living noise such as footsteps, banging doors, flushing toilets, talking and children playing are not something we can take action for, except in very exceptional circumstances.
The definition of what constitutes a statutory nuisance has been developed through case-law. This means the courts have considered individual cases and decided the types of things that can be considered a statutory nuisance. Such case-law sets a precedent that the Council should take into account when deciding whether a statutory nuisance exists. In respect of noise the courts have decided that noise from the ordinary and reasonable use of residential premises cannot be considered as a statutory nuisance.
Officers don't have to measure the level of the noise or take readings in order to decide if it is a nuisance that they can deal with. The judgement of an independent and experienced officer is enough to make a decision on whether the noise is a nuisance or not. Where there is a nuisance, a noise abatement notice will be served prohibiting or restricting the noise.
The statutory nuisance regime in the Environmental Protection Act 1990 deals with noise, but so does the Noise Act 1996 (nigh-time noise) and the Control of Pollution Act 1974 (noise from construction sites, small building works and loudspeakers in the street). Excessive noise can also be classed as Anti-social Behaviour and can be dealt with under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
What can you do?
Before contacting the Council you may wish to contact the person responsible for causing the noise and explain politely that you are being disturbed by it. Although you may find this difficult, it is surprising how often neighbours are unaware of the problems they are causing. Most will be glad to do what they can to reduce the noise and appreciate a personal approach rather than involving the council. If the noise continues you may write to them and ask them to stop making the noise nuisance. If you do not feel comfortable approaching or are unable to approach the noise maker yourself you can report the noise using our online form.
What if speaking to the noise maker does not work?
You can report the noise using our online form.
Please be aware that you must provide your details as we are unable to accept or investigate the complaint without these . When we receive your complaint the Council will write to the person who is responsible for causing the noise that you are complaining about. You will be asked to give permission for this to be done, if you do not give permission your complaint will be recorded but no further action will be taken.
Out-of-hours we provide a limited service to deal with emergency situations. In an emergency:
Telephone 0191 278 7878 and ask for 'environmental health'
What will happen after I complain?
A lot of cases are resolved once we have written to the noise maker. If the noise continues you will be sent a link to an on-line incident diary where you will be asked to record the dates and times of any noise nuisance, what the nuisance was and the effect it has on you.
The diary will allow us to establish if there are any patterns to the incidents and whether the circumstances would be enough for us to take formal action.
We won't reveal your identity during our initial investigations. However, it may become necessary to reveal your identity to support the Council’s case if formal legal action is taken. Evidence from you to support a case, such as the incident diaries and witness statement, may be disclosed during any prosecution or appeal against an abatement notice.
If your complaint goes on to a formal investigation stage, it may be registered against your property. This then has to be disclosed if and when you come to sell it.
The Council must serve an abatement notice on someone responsible for a statutory nuisance, or on the premises owner or occupier if this is not possible. This may require whoever’s responsible to stop the activity or limit it to certain times to avoid causing a nuisance and can include specific actions to reduce the problem.
Need more information?
Public Safety & Regulation
Newcastle upon Tyne
Telephone: 0191 278 7878