Neighbour disputes with noise
Dealing with noisy neighbours
Local authorities have extensive powers to deal with noise nuisances. You can ask the Environmental Health Officer (EHO) to investigate the noise. They are able to measure the level of noise and to give an expert opinion on how it rates as a noise nuisance. Local authorities have powers to seize noise-making equipment.
If the EHO considers there is a noise nuisance and has been unable to resolve the matter informally, the authority can then serve a notice on the person causing the noise, or on the owner or occupier of the property. If the person causing the noise does not comply with the notice, the local authority can prosecute them. The local authority can also apply for an injunction.
Local authority tenants who suffer noise nuisance can contact the Local Government Ombudsman who may be able to recommend compensation if the local authority has failed in one of its duties. Tenants of housing associations and other social landlords (and of some private landlords) can contact the Independent Housing Ombudsman.
Noise in the neighbourhood
Loudspeakers (except for the police, ambulance and fire brigade) must not be used in the streets between 9.00pm and 8.00am. It is illegal to use loudspeakers in the street at any hour for advertising, entertainment, trade or business. There is an exemption from this rule for vehicles which sell food (such as ice cream), but loudspeakers or chimes on these vehicles may only be used between the hours of noon and 7.00pm in such a way as not to annoy people nearby. Any complaints about noise from loudspeakers or chimes should be made to the police or to the Environmental Health Department of the local authority.
All local authorities have the power to deal with noise nuisance from vehicle alarms and other street noise, for example, music. This includes the power to break into the vehicle and silence the alarm if it is creating a nuisance.
A local authority has the power to enter a building and silence an alarm where the alarm has been operating non-stop for 20 minutes or on and off for an hour and is causing a noise nuisance. A local authority officer can only enter a building by force with a warrant. The authority can recover the cost of silencing the alarm from the occupier of the premises. A local authority can also make an area an 'alarm notification area'. This means that the owner or occupier of every building in the area which has an alarm must have a keyholder and must give their contact details to the local authority. The local authority can ask the keyholder to switch off the alarm.
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