Noise pollution

If you wish to speak to someone about noise, please ring 020 7364 5007 during office hours.

Bank holiday out of hours service

The council will be providing an out of hours noise patrol service on the following Public Holidays this spring and summer:

  • Monday May 5
  • Monday May 26
  • Monday August 25

The service will operate between 8pm and 3.30am.  The telephone number to ring is 020 7364 5007.


If your call relates to public disorder issue in the street you should continue to use the Metropolitan Police Service on 101

Click here for more information if your complaint relates to Anti Social Behaviour.

More than a third of requests for nuisance help that we receive are about noise. The council can take action on excessive levels of noise considered to be a statutory noise nuisance.

We can also carry out noise assessments and monitor construction site development to protect the wellbeing of the borough’s residents and businesses. Tower Hamlets council actively works with residents, businesses, developers and regional partners to control levels of noise.

What we do

We can help with most problems, complaints or enquiries concerning residential and commercial noise, including the following:

  • DIY, amplified music, musical instruments, domestic appliances, leisure activities, hobbies, parties
  • car alarms (including breaking into vehicles to disarm the alarm)
  • burglar alarms (including entering buildings to switch off the alarm)
  • construction (including serving notices and taking action through the courts)
  • street noise, for example, stationary vehicles with engines running, refrigerator units, car repairs, audio systems in stationary vehicles.

Residential

Noise from residential premises may be:

  • DIY
  • amplified music (not from parties)
  • musical instruments
  • domestic appliances
  • leisure activities / hobbies
  • parties

In the case of parties, an out of hours patrol officer will attempt, where it is safe to do so, to visit the premises complained of and speak to the person responsible for the party. If the party is not a nuisance they will give advice on ways of reducing the noise e.g. shutting windows, turning down the bass volume.

If they believe the party is a noise nuisance, and is likely to continue being so, then they should serve an abatement notice. If the noise nuisance does not stop within the compliance time specified on the notice then it will be forwarded to the legal section for prosecution. They may also consider the option of equipment seizure where the nuisance is severe.

Car alarms

The service is empowered to break into vehicles to disarm defective alarms and also to remove the vehicles to a safe place where necessary. The costs involved will be recovered from the owner of the vehicle. The owner’s details are obtained from DVLA.

Audible intruder alarms (AIA)

The service is empowered to obtain a warrant to enter premises and deactivate AIA's that are causing 'annoyance' to persons living or working nearby.

The warrant may authorise entry to such other persons and equipment as is necessary to de-activate the alarm. Entry to premises should only take place in the company of a police constable, and shall cause minimal damage and disturbance. If reasonably practicable the alarm will be reset, and the premises will also be effectively secured as is reasonably practicable.

The warrant will only be obtained when the AIA has operated for more than one hour after it was activated; the officer has unsuccessfully tried to contact nominated keyholders and it is causing annoyance to persons living or working nearby.

Construction activities

This guidance note does not cover noise from DIY.

Noise nuisance from construction works is controlled by Section 60 Control of Pollution Act 1974 and Section 61 Control of Pollution Act 1974. Other nuisance is covered by Section 80 Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Section 61 Control of Pollution Act 1974 allows a contractor or promoter to approach the local authority to gain consent to carry out construction works. The local authority has the power to amend or condition any consent.

Section 60 Control of Pollution Act 1974 is essentially the same as the Section 61 except that no approach is made by the contractor and the conditions are imposed by the local authority.

It will be necessary before taking action against any contractor to ensure that the contractor is not exempted from control because of Crown Immunity or statutory undertaking.

The local authority has an agreed policy on construction sites (PDF, 416kb). The policy precludes, except in exceptional circumstances, works of construction being carried out between 18.00 to 08.00 Monday to Friday, from 13.00 on Saturdays and any works on Sundays, Bank or Public holidays.

Noise in the street

This covers noise emitted or caused by a vehicle, machinery or equipment (VME) in the street.

It includes noise from:

  • musical instruments
  • car alarms (see above)
  • stationary vehicles with engines idling
  • refrigerator units operating
  • hydraulic tail lifts
  • skip loading equipment
  • goods deliveries
  • DIY car repairs
  • professional car repairs in the street
  • any industrial or work activities spilling out into the street
  • all building, engineering, and demolition works in the streets arising from the use of compressors, generators and pumps left unattended
  • buskers and street musicians using instruments irrespective of whether or not electrically powered, ghetto blasters
  • street parties and informal gatherings where amplification equipment is used
  • audio systems in stationary vehicles
  • pickets in industrial disputes using loudspeakers

It excludes:

  • traffic noise
  • noise made by military forces
  • noise from campaigning demonstrations

Public entertainment licensing

Licences for the performance of music in a public place (including an open space) within the Borough of Tower Hamlets, are issued by:

Licensing and Trading Standards Section
Mulberry Place (AH)
PO BOX 55739
5 Clove Crescent
London E14 1BY

Tel: 020 7364 5008

Opening hours: 9am to 5pm

How to contact us

Environmental Health
Environmental Protection
Mulberry Place (AH)
PO Box 55739
5 Clove Crescent
London E14 2BG

Tel:  020 7364 5008
Fax: 020 7364 6831

Open: Monday to Friday, 9am -5pm  

Email: environmentalhealth@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Out of hours service

The times for our out-of-hours noise service operate Thursday to Sunday 8pm to 3.30am only.

The law enforced by the council’s Environmental Health Officers deals with noise described as a statutory nuisance. This means that some issues cannot be dealt with as they fall outside this description. The following are an example; rowdy behaviour in the street, everyday noise from your neighbour for example, people moving around and talking, noise from flushing toilets, children running around.

If you wish to speak to someone about an out of hours noise problem please call us on 020 7364 5007. The number to ring during the day is also 020 7364 5007.

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