Noise pollution

Noise we are not able to investigate

  • traffic noise, revving engines, sounding horns

  • Noise from trains, the tube or DLR.

  • noise made by military forces

  • noise from campaigning demonstrations

  • rowdy behaviour in the street, people gathering in the street

  • noise from your neighbour for example, people moving around and talking, noise from flushing toilets, children running around.

Tube

Anyone disturbed by the Night Tube or everyday Tube services can contact TFL's 24/7 Customer Service Centre

Tel: 0343 222 1234

Aircraft or trains

Please note that we have no jurisdiction in respect of noise from aircraft or trains. For train and railway noise, contact the Network Rail Helpline

Tel: 0845 711414

If you are experiencing noise from any aircraft please contact the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)

Tel: 020 7453 6525

See more information if your complaint relates to Anti Social Behaviour

Public disorder

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

Tel: 101

Noise the we can investigate

The Council receives approximately 5000 complaints per year. 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.

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

  • unreasonable noise from pubs, clubs, bars and to report licensing issues to the licensing team licensing@towerhamlets.gov.uk

  • excessively loud amplified music and parties (repeated over a time period)

  • persistent noise from musical instruments, domestic appliances, leisure activities/hobbies

  • car alarms (sounding persistently for over twenty minutes)

  • burglar alarms (sounding persistently for over twenty minutes)

  • noise from construction sites or building works outside of permitted hours. Please see the agreed policy on construction sites

  • DIY noise after 8pm or before 8am

  • unreasonable noise from air handling or refrigeration units

  • audio systems in stationary vehicles

Residential noise

Noise from residential premises may be:

  • DIY

  • parties with amplified music (repeated over a time period)

  • musical instruments

  • domestic appliances

  • leisure activities / hobbies

Parties

An out of hours 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. 

If residents do not agree to the Officer’s out of hours assessment visit

If residents do not agree to the Officer’s out of hours assessment visit at their property, the team may not be able to proceed with legal action only request the noise is turned down or turned off at the premises noted to be responsible for the noise.

Anonymous complaints

Anonymous complaints cannot be progressed by the Environmental Protection Team. The service must verify that the complaint is from a genuine source. 

Property landlords, Managing Agents and/or Housing Providers

Property landlords, Managing Agents and/or Housing Providers will be contacted in the event of verified noise complaints where an officer from the out of hours team has visited.

The Environmental Protection Team have developed a noise strategy with the Health and Housing Team. Where properties in Tower Hamlets have a licence in place the teams work in partnership to share information on noise reports from private rented properties.

The Landlord and or Managing Agent must take the appropriate action to prevent further noise disturbance. We believe that this will be an effective approach by our teams to address reported noise and anti-social behaviour.

Car alarms

We can enter vehicles to disarm sounding alarms and 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)

We can get a warrant to enter premises and deactivate AIA's that are causing statutory noise nuisance 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 officer and will cause minimal damage and disturbance. If it is possible the alarm will be reset, and the premises will also be effectively secured.

We can get a warrant only when:

  • the alarm has been sounding for more than 1 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 September 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 (but it is 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.

Control of Pollution Act 1974 Section 61 consents and dispensations are specific to the associated planning application. To view the documents please go to the Online Planning Register of Tower Hamlets website.

Noise in the street

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

It includes noise from:

  • car alarms

  • Unreasonable noise from air handling or refrigeration units

  • goods deliveries where best practical means to minimise noise are not being used

  • professional car repairs in the street

  • any industrial work activities on the street

  • all building, engineering, and demolition works in the streets arising from the use of compressors, generators and pumps left unattended

  • audio systems in stationary vehicles

Contact us

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

To make a report to the Environmental Protection (Noise) Team, the daytime noise response is available from 9am to 5pm

The Out of Hours Noise Response Service is available from Thursday to Sunday, (evenings only)

8pm – 3.30am

Please follow the prompts then hold while the call connects to the call handler. If the line is busy you will be asked to leave details on an answer phone.

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.

Tel: 020 7364 5000

Email: environmental.protection@towerhamlets.gov.uk