Lithium battery fires

Lithium batteries have caused fires in the rubbish lorries. Please do not put batteries in your waste or recycling bin. All batteries (including lithium batteries from e-bikes and e-scooters and other re-chargeable devices) can be taken to the Reuse and Recycling Centre at Northumberland Wharf.

Noise service

Statutory noise nuisance

For the noise to count as a statutory nuisance it must be excessive and unreasonable. What someone considers noise can vary from person to person. It can depend on things like their personality, lifestyle and cultural background.

How the service works

We have five officers dealing with all of the noise matters in the borough. We process over 5000 complaints a year. This is along with planning, licensing and strategic works that the team follow up on. 

The Environmental Protection Team rely on residents to report noise when it’s taking place. We use this as evidence when an officer comes out to investigate. The service is mostly reactive to provide service to all our residents.

Regular noise disturbances

When complaints are received a letter and diary sheets will be sent to you. Where completed diary sheets returned to the Environmental Protection Team show a pattern of noise disturbance, officers can plan to carry out pro-active visits (by prior arrangement) to assess the noise reported.

Occasional noise disturbances

When noise is irregular, officers can install a sound level meter to monitor noise. This is after receiving and reviewing completed diary sheets. Officers can analyse the noise recorded and tell the resident if follow up action is required.

Note: monitoring with a sound level meter may identify the type of noise but not the source. So it is important that an officer visits to find out where the noise is coming from.

Closing cases

We will close a file after 28 days if:

  • we do not receive communication from affected residents following a report (complaint)
  • diary sheets are not submitted
  • the noise response service has not been contacted to visit and assess the noise.

Investigating noise

For the noise team to detect nuisance according to the Environmental Protection Act 1990, we must show that a statutory nuisance is taking place or likely to reoccur.

Environmental Protection can act on excessive levels of noise considered to be a statutory noise nuisance. If called, officers may attend and assess the noise inside the complainants property. The assessment must take place in a habitable room like a bedroom or living room.

If there is evidence of statutory noise

If there is evidence of a statutory noise nuisance, an Environmental Protection Act 1990 Section 80 notice can be served. If the notice served is breached and this is witnessed by a council officer, the council can prosecute.

Proof beyond reasonable doubt is needed as evidence of a breach of an EPA 1990 section 80 notice. Officers must assess the noise from within the complainants property to know if the notice has been breached.

Audio recording, video clips and diary sheets from the resident can be used as support evidence if we proceed with a prosecution.

Evidence gathered by those affected can also be used should a resident wish to take their own action under section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The Environmental Protection Team can only take action for statutory noise nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. When an officer witnesses a statutory nuisance, the noise must cover all seven tests of common law nuisance.

The following factors need to be considered and include but are not limited to:

  • the level and type of noise
  • nature of the neighbourhood
  • continuity and noise duration. Not just at night but is it an ongoing issue rather than a one-off i.e. birthday party
  • reasonable or not
  • intent or malice
  • the time of day or night when the noise occurs
  • whether any aggravating characteristics are present
  • any sensitivity of the complainant
  • if the noise impact on the complainant would prevent sleep or normal conversation without raising one’s voice.

Find out more about noise nuisances

Reporting noise

If excessive noise is disturbing you, please contact the noise service on 020 7364 5000.

The service hours are:

  • 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday
  • Out of Hours Noise Response Service on Thursday to Sunday (evenings only) from 8pm to 3.30am.