The council investigates noise from commercial premises (e.g. pubs, clubs), industrial premises and from domestic premises. However, noise from aircraft, road traffic and antisocial behaviour in the street is specifically excluded from the legislation we can enforce.
Council officers do not hold powers to stop noise in progress. Officers may witness noise and gather suitable evidence for the purpose of serving an abatement notice or supporting a prosecution.
Whether from dogs barking, loud stereos or shouting and banging, complaints are investigated.
Noise from neighbours is a common source of disturbance. Everyone can expect some noise from the people who live around them. This could include any of the following reasons
- The neighbours are behaving unreasonably
- The neighbours are behaving normally, but sound insulation in your home is not good enough to cut out the sounds of normal everyday living
- The sensitivity of people to different types of noise varies – sounds that some enjoy may annoy others
First, approach your neighbour and explain politely that you are being troubled by noise. You may find this difficult but often people are unaware that they are causing a problem. However, approach the matter carefully if you think your neighbour may react angrily to a complaint.
If an informal approach is unsuccessful, the normal practice would be for this authority to send an initial letter to the complainant confirming the details of their complaint and enclosing a form that the complainant must sign and return within 10 days. This is a necessary step which ensures accuracy as this starts off an official investigatory process that could potentially end up in a court of law.
Only upon receipt of the completed confirmation form, will this authority then send a letter to the alleged offender, giving details of the complaint. Whilst we would not release your details at this stage, you need to be aware that if the matter ultimately has to go to court, you may be required to attend and give evidence.
If the problem continues, start recording dates, times and cause of the noise and the effect it has on you in a nuisance record sheet (63kb, PDF).
When you believe you have sufficient evidence on the record sheet, please send it either by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Warwick District Council, Environmental Services, Riverside House, Milverton Hill, Royal Leamington Spa CV32 5HZ. We will then contact you to discuss what action can be taken.
We will consider the type of noise, how often and at what time it occurs.
In most cases, we will need to witness the noise to determine if it is a statutory nuisance as defined by the Environmental Protection Act (1990). This requires that officers need access to the complainant’s property to assess the nuisance. If we are satisfied that a nuisance exists we would serve a noise abatement notice on the perpetrator. If the person, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with the notice, he or she is liable for prosecution in the Magistrates’ Court. We also have the power to confiscate any equipment that is causing a noise nuisance.
If for whatever reason, the council is unsuccessful in resolving your complaint, you are also entitled to take your own action if you wish by complaining direct to the Magistrates’ Court. However, you are strongly advised to obtain legal advice before pursuing such action.
You may also wish to consider whether the problem could more easily be resolved by mediation.
Night Noise Service
The Council are currently undertaking a survey on the Night Noise service - you can read more about this and complete the survey on our news page.
If, upon investigation, the noise is judged to be a statutory nuisance, legal action may be taken by the council against those responsible for the noise. It may also be necessary to obtain a warrant to enter your premises and take whatever action is necessary to silence the alarm. The costs of this would be recharged to the person responsible.
Please follow the simple guidance below to ensure you do not cause a nuisance to your neighbours.
- Ensure your alarm is properly installed and maintained to avoid false alarms.
- Ensure your alarm cuts out after 15 to 20 minutes, perhaps reverting to a visual indicator.
- Maintain at least 2 key holders who can visit the site to disable the alarm within 20 minutes of notification. Send the details of your key holders to our Environmental Services team (197 kb, PDF).
There are powers which the council can exercise to silence alarms, usually involving breaking into vehicles. However, legal procedures have to be followed and this form of action is only taken when other ways of dealing with the problem have been explored.
Noise nuisance from commercial buildings such as factories, pubs and clubs, can all be dealt with under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and each case needs to be assessed on its merits. This may involve investigation of the licensing conditions related to the premises. The fact that a noise causes annoyance does not necessarily mean that the local authority can take formal action to stop it, but we will advise and investigate and, where necessary, use our statutory powers to prevent nuisance being caused. Telephone 01926 456725.
Noise from temporary works can be significant, and controls to limit hours of work and equipment used can be exercised. Building and repair works have the potential to cause severe disruption through noise. In the main, people do tolerate such noise because it is for short periods. However, where major works are being carried out or when there is night time work, there may be cause for complaint. Telephone 01926 456725, and the Environmental Services Unit will investigate noise from construction sites and building works and where necessary take formal action to abate noise nuisance.
It should be borne in mind that there may be limits to our controls. Such work inevitably takes place and therefore we look to ensure that the “best practicable means” are used to prevent noise nuisance. We may, for example, seek to limit working hours or require that certain methods of working are not used.
DIY building work may also result in annoyance to neighbours. There needs to be a common sense approach to carrying out such work to ensure that neighbours are not unreasonably disturbed. For example, the avoidance of noisy work at unsociable hours and keeping neighbours informed if noisy work is to take place.
Noise in the street
Noise from vehicles, equipment and machinery in the street can constitute a nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This does not mean that one-off incidents for short periods can be dealt with. There would need to be an element of repetition or of the noise occurring for a prolonged period. There are restrictions on the use of loud speakers in the street. These are laid down in the Control of Pollution Act 1974.
The noise nuisance provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 do not control aircraft / helicopter noise. Unless safety is being compromised or planning law is contravened, we can only refer you to the site operator. For further advice on planning issues, please contact the council's Enforcement Officers on 01926 456557. For further advice on safety issues, please contact the Civil Aviation Authority's Safety Regulation Group at Aviation House, Gatwick Airport South, West Sussex, RH6 0YR or through their website at www.caa.co.uk
- Report noise nuisance
- Call 01926 456725