Noise pollution

More than a third of requests for nuisance help that the council receives are about noise.

Christmas and New Year 2018/2019

Please note that council offices will be closed from 5pm on Monday 24th December 2018 until 8am Wednesday 2nd January 2019.

During this period there will be no noise service available to respond to residents or businesses during normal business hours.

We will however provide an out of hours noise service to residents on 0207 364 5007 between 8pm and 3.30am on Thursday 27th December – Sunday 30th December 2018 . 

A normal noise service will resume from 2nd January 2019.

What we do

We can take action on excessive levels of noise considered to be a statutory noise nuisance, but residents must be aware that we need to monitor the noise complained of from within their premises if such action is to be considered.

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.

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

We work closely with residents, businesses, developers and regional partners to control levels of noise.

Report to our Noise Service

You can call 020 7364 5007 to report any of the above from:

  • Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
  • Thursday-Sunday 8.30pm-3.30am.

If you are affected by noise outside of these hours then please inform us during daytime hours so we can ensure we record relevant details to consider future actions.

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

Residential

Noise from residential premises may be:

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

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

Noise nuisance from construction works is controlled by Section 60 and Section 61 Control of Pollution Act 1974. This note does not cover noise from DIY by residents which is covered by Section 80 Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The local authority has an agreed policy on construction sites. The policy provides that, except in exceptional circumstances, noisy construction works will only be carried out between 08:00-18:00 Monday to Friday, from 08:00-13:00 on Saturdays and not at all on Sundays, Bank or Public holidays.

However Contractors / developers can (not mandatory) seek a written consent under Section 61 Control of Pollution Act 1974 from the local authority to gain consent to carry out construction works where conditions will be agreed as to the operating hours and days when work may take place outside the normal construction hours.

In certain circumstances when there is what is classed as an engineering requirement or Health and Safety necessity then an application can be submitted for  a variation to the noise service and if justified will be agreed.   It is also recognised that occasionally developments may overrun their operating hours which could be for a number of reasons, (e.g delayed concrete deliveries) in such circumstances they are required to inform the local authority and justify the reasons without delay.

Section 60 Control of Pollution Act 1974 allows the local authority to specify the hours of work for such sites and is usually in line with LBTH Code of Construction Practice hours and is normally used when builders/contractors do not have a section 61 consent in place or there has been an abuse by them in their operating hours.

We can carry out noise assessments when appropriate and monitor construction site development to protect the wellbeing of the borough’s residents and businesses.

If any resident is affected by noise they should contact our noise service on 0207 364 5007 to allow us to investigate the cause providing as much detail as possible of what occurred and by who/when.

 Non noisy works are allowed at all times

Noise in the street

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

It includes noise from:

  • musical instruments
  • car alarms
  • 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

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.