Noise pollution

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

Report to our noise service

We understand that a lot of people are currently experiencing long periods at home and discovering how intrusive local sources of noise can be. We apologise for our inability to directly act on your behalf as we would normally, but please still log your noise problems with us.

email: environmental.protection@towerhamlets.gov.uk 

Tel: 020 7364 5007 (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday)

Out of Hours and Daytime Noise services

The Out of Hours Noise Response Service is available every evening from Thursday to Sunday, 8pm – 3.30am.

Tel: 020 7364 5000 (hold to speak to the call handler).

Building and vehicle alarms

We will can and will be able to tackle building construction and vehicle alarms during office hours Monday to Friday.

Where we have contact details for those responsible and details of what, where and when the problem is - we are still able to write to them asking them to be more considerate (which often can produce the desired outcome). Where we can help we will.

We will still strive to make the London Borough of Tower Hamlets a better and more peaceful place to live and work and trust you will bear with us during these difficult times.

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, lorry refrigerator units and audio systems in stationary vehicles.

See 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 5000 to report any of the above from:

  • Monday to Friday 9am-5pm
  • Thursday to 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

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 (following assessment from the complainant’s home) officers believe the noise from the party is be statutory nuisance, officers may serve an abatement notice. If the noise nuisance does not stop within the time specified on the notice, a case may be compiled and forwarded to the legal team for prosecution. Officers may also consider the option of equipment seizure in the event of non-compliance with the notice served and where the statutory noise nuisance is severe and continuous.

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.

A 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.

A 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 key holders and it is causing annoyance to persons living or working nearby.

Construction: Covid-19 extensions to working hours to 9pm

The government announced a relaxation of the controls on construction sites with an extension of working hours to 9pm, Monday to Saturday.

This replaces the council’s requirement to stop noisy works by

  • 6pm, Monday to Friday and
  • 1pm on Saturday

This is outlined in the council’s Code of Construction Practice.

The government’s expectation is for local authorities to encourage construction sites to make up for lost time by allowing longer working hours until May 2021.  

We realise this will have a significant impact on some of our residents. We will look to work with the developers and construction companies to minimise disruption as much as possible.

For more information visit the Parliament website construction update.

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 8am-6pm Monday to Friday, from 8am-1pm 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.

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

Tel: 020 7364 5000