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Noise Complaints

When people live close to their neighbours, a level of noise should be expected and accepted. Many noise issues can be resolved with your neighbour by having a polite word to make them aware and ask that noise levels are reduced. Often, they will be unaware. Check out our 'Dear Neighbour' letter template below.

We've put together some helpful tips on being a mindful neighbour, check out the video below:

Where noise is persistent and excessive, it may be considered antisocial and we may be able to help you resolve it if you have been unsuccessful with the suggested approach above.

There are no set noise constraints that people need to adhere to; it is really a question of what is reasonable behaviour. The circumstances differ for each case and we must consider them carefully before we take action.

We do not consider the following noise as antisocial behaviour:

  • General living noise - ‘General living’ includes noise such as vacuuming, walking around, doors opening/closing, general conversations etc. 
  • Children playing noise - Play is an essential part of every child’s life and vital for the enjoyment of childhood as well as their health, wellbeing and development.  Although some types of behaviour can be annoying, children playing in the street or communal areas is not antisocial behaviour. 
  • Baby crying -  If you have concerns about the welfare of a child, please contact Norfolk County Council’s social services safeguarding team on 0344 800 8020 or report any concerns online. If you feel a child is at risk of immediate harm, call the police on 999.

When to call the police

If the arguing and shouting is outside the home and in the street, this is a case of public disorder or signs of domestic abuse, for which the police have the powers to respond. You should contact the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

If you feel that the noise from your neighbours indicates that somebody is at risk of domestic abuse or other serious harm, you should contact the police immediately on 999.

What do I need to report a persistent noise?

If you are disturbed on a regular basis, you may want to have a friendly chat with your neighbour or use our 'Dear Neighbour' card below.

If the problem persists you can make a formal complaint using the "Report a noise complaint here" button at the bottom of this page. To assist us in investigating your complaint we may need you to provide further information such as using the Noise App (see the section below for further details about the Noise App) or completing monitoring forms detailing times, dates and how you are being affected. This information may also provide some of the evidence required should we need to take legal action. Please be aware that we will contact the noise maker.

We can investigate complaints about noise from a neighbour. In most cases, you should approach your neighbour directly about the matter to try to resolve the problem informally.

If the problem continues then you can report it to us using the "Report a noise complaint here" button at the bottom of this page.

We will contact your neighbour to make them aware that we have received a complaint.  If this does not resolve the matter we may need you to provide further information such as using the Noise App or completing monitoring forms detailing times, dates and how you are being affected. You can also use the Noise App (see the section below for further details about the Noise App) to supply additional information in support of your initial complaint.  Depending on what the Noise App / completed monitoring forms show, we may install noise monitoring equipment in your property or we may visit to assess the noise ourselves.

If your complaint is about a Housing Association tenant, you should report the matter to their Housing Officer. Where a Housing Association takes the lead on investigating the complaint, we will work with them to try to resolve the issue.

We can take action if an alarm is sounding for prolonged periods or on a frequent basis. The police are often contacted about burglar alarm noise, however they will refer all noise complaints to us unless there is a report of suspicious or criminal activity.

We will investigate complaints of misfiring alarms under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Firstly we will try to find out if there is a key holder who can silence the alarm. If we can’t find a key holder we will visit the area to determine whether the noise is causing a statutory nuisance. If we are satisfied that the noise is causing a statutory nuisance, we can serve a legal notice on the person responsible. If the alarm is still sounding after one hour and all reasonable steps have been taken to contact either the owner, the occupier, or any nominated key holders of the property, then we can undertake work to silence the alarm.

We can investigate complaints about barking dogs which are affecting the use and enjoyment of your property. In the first instance you should contact the owner of the dog and make them aware that you are being disturbed to try to resolve the matter informally. Your neighbour may be unaware that their dog is causing a problem.

If the problem continues after approaching your neighbour, you can report it to us using the "Report a noise complaint here" button at the bottom of this page.

We will contact the subject of your complaint to make them aware that we have received a complaint.  If this does not resolve the matter we may need you to provide further information such as using the Noise App (see the section below for further details about the Noise App) or completing monitoring forms detailing times, dates and how you are being affected. You can also use the Noise App to supply additional information in support of your initial complaint.  On receipt of your the Noise App information / completed monitoring forms, we will consider how often, how long and at what time of the day the dog is barking, to determine if it is likely to be a matter we can pursue. Depending on what the Noise App / completed monitoring forms show, we may install noise monitoring equipment in your property or we may visit to assess the noise ourselves.

We will take the appropriate legal action if we establish that the barking is significant enough to constitute a statutory nuisance as defined in the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

We will investigate complaints about excessive noise coming from licensed premises. We will make the premises management aware that a complaint has been received, giving them some details about your concerns so they can resolve the problem. You may be asked to provide further information such as using the Noise App (see the section below for further details about the Noise App) or completing monitoring forms detailing times, dates and how you are being affected. You can also use the Noise App to supply additional information in support of your initial complaint.

If we establish that the noise is significant enough to constitute a statutory nuisance as defined in the Environmental Protection Act 1990, we will take the appropriate legal action.

Pubs and bars are also subject to requirements under the Licensing Act 2003.

You can report an issue regarding excessive noise coming from licensed premises using the "Report a noise complaint here" button at the bottom of this page.

A certain amount of noise is expected from any building or construction site but when this noise starts to affect you, we will investigate. Building activity is not restricted to set times or days. However, we suggest that where residents can be disturbed, sites should work from 7:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday and 8:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays, with no noisy construction work on Sundays or public holidays.

We will investigate complaints about excessive noise coming from construction sites. We will make the site management aware that a complaint has been received, giving them some details about your concerns so they can resolve the problem. You may be asked to provide further information such as using the Noise App (see the section below for further details about the Noise App) or completing monitoring forms detailing times, dates and how you are being affected. You can also use the Noise App to supply additional information in support of your initial complaint.

If we establish that the noise is significant enough to constitute a statutory nuisance as defined in the Environmental Protection Act 1990, we will take the appropriate legal action.

Noise and vibration from demolition and construction sites can also be formally controlled by a local authority by serving a notice under Section 60 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974. This legislation gives us the power to restrict the days and hours of work, the ways in which works are carried out and the type of plant that is used. Failure to comply with the requirements of a notice can lead to a fine of up to £20,000.

You can report an issue regarding excessive noise coming from a construction site using the "Report a noise complaint here" button at the bottom of this page.

Bird scarers are essential for farmers to help protect certain crops and are not illegal. If a farmer or landowner is using a bird scarer, they must make sure that they are not causing a statutory nuisance to others. We recommend that bird scarers should be used in accordance with the Bird Scarers Code of Practice produced by the National Farmers Union (NFU).

If you are experiencing disruption from a bird scarer and you know who owns it, you may wish to make them aware of the problems you are experiencing. They may not be aware that it is causing you a problem.

If approaching the farmer is not successful, or you do not know who is responsible, you can report the problem to us. You may be asked to provide further information such as using the Noise App (see the section below for further details about the Noise App) or completing monitoring forms detailing times, dates and how you are being affected. You can also use the Noise App to supply additional information in support of your initial complaint.

You can report an issue regarding excessive noise coming from a bird scarer using the "Report a noise complaint here" button at the bottom of this page.

It is not illegal to keep cockerels in a residential area, however if its crowing affects other people in the area then we can investigate and take action under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

For us to take formal action, the crowing has to be excessive and at unreasonable hours, significantly interfering with the enjoyment of your home. In most cases, you should approach your the birds owner directly about the matter to try to resolve the problem informally.

If the problem continues then you can report the issue to us using the "Report a noise complaint here" button at the bottom of this page.

We will contact the birds owner to make them aware that we have received a complaint.  If this does not resolve the matter we may need you to provide further information such as using the Noise App or completing monitoring forms detailing times, dates and how you are being affected. You can also use the Noise App to supply additional information in support of your initial complaint.  On receipt of your the Noise App information / completed monitoring forms, we will consider how often, how long and at what time of the day the cockerel is crowing, to determine if it is likely to be a matter we can pursue. Depending on what the Noise App / completed monitoring forms show, we may install noise monitoring equipment in your property or we may visit to assess the noise ourselves.

We will take the appropriate legal action if we establish that the crowing is significant enough to constitute a statutory nuisance as defined in the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

If we are satisfied that the crowing is causing a statutory nuisance, a notice can be served to reduce or stop the noise occurring.

Noise from aircraft in flight falls outside our powers to deal with noise.

To register an enquiry/complaint about military aircraft activities, please contact the Ministry of Defence Low Flying Complaints and Enquiries Unit:

  • Email: SWK-lowflying@mod.gov.uk .
  • Telephone: 01780 417558 Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm (excluding bank holidays)
  • Address: Low Flying Complaints and Enquiries Unit, RAF Wittering, Peterborough PE8 6H

To register an enquiry/complaint about domestic aircraft noise, please contact the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on 020 7379 7311, or email infoservices@caa.co.uk .