We are all affected by noise, wherever we live, but sometimes it can be so unreasonable that it becomes a statutory nuisance. Nuisance can occur if noise is so loud, or so often or prolonged, or at times when most people are asleep; to the extent that it is unreasonable and substantially interferes with the use or enjoyment of your home.
Some examples of noise which might create a nuisance are:
- Playing loud music late at night
- Allowing dogs to bark excessively
- Frequently using power tools for DIY
- Construction work early in the morning or on Sundays
- Loud fans or machinery
- Faulty alarms
We are not able to deal with:
- transport noise - you can find out who to contact about transport noise at gov.uk.
- noise from people in the street
- poor sound insulation or everyday noise (like walking, talking, laughing, children playing or babies crying), as case law prevents action over such matters.
Ways to resolve the situation directly
- Approach your neighbour or the business causing the noise. Explain politely that you are being affected by noise, as they may be unaware of the problem and may be willing to reduce the noise
- Contact West Sussex Mediation Service. Free community mediation by trained volunteer mediators can help neighbours to reach a satisfactory agreement. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 200 0025 for more information
- If you are a tenant, speak to your landlord. All landlords have powers to take action against tenants who are causing nuisance to their neighbours
Make a formal complaint
If you make a formal complaint, we will investigate to check if the noise is causing a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. We will normally ask you to keep a diary, recording dates and times of the noise and how it affects you.
If the investigating officer decides a ‘statutory nuisance’ is occurring, an abatement notice will usually be served on the person responsible.
When you make a complaint, please make sure you tell us:
- the source of the noise
- how long it has been going on for
- how it has affected you
- your name and contact details
Take your own legal action
Sometimes it is not possible for the Council to take action: for example if we are unable to witness the noise. In such circumstances, you can take independent action under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 by contacting the Magistrates' Court directly. Further information is available from Environmental Protection UK.