This covers all types of noise from domestic, commercial and industrial properties that affect the use or enjoyment of your property. In certain circumstances, it also deals with noise in the street. An example would be somebody regularly repairing their car. It does not cover the general noise from traffic on the highway. Some of the more common complaints include:

Barking dogs

We all know that dogs bark, for example, at visitors or from playful behaviour or excitement. The noise becomes a problem when it is not controlled and dogs are allowed to bark unchecked.

The solution may be to ensure your dog is happy. Feed and exercise your dog before you go out and make sure it has water, a comfortable bed and toys. Leave a radio on low or a light on if you aren't back until dark. If the dog is kept outside ensure it is happy and position the kennel away from neighbouring properties. Further help and advice can be sought from your vet or a dog behaviourist.

Burglar alarms

Noise caused by audible intruder alarms is a common cause of complaint. If a fault develops while you are on holiday alarms can sometimes sound for days. This can cause a serious noise nuisance to your neighbours.

Every new alarm installation must be fitted with a working cut-out device. This cut-out device should work within 20 minutes from the start of the alarm sounding. After that time, security can be maintained by a flashing light. To prevent an alarm from misfiring:

  • Ensure that the alarm is installed by a qualified engineer
  • Make sure your alarm is regularly checked and properly maintained
  • Fit the required 20 minute cut-out device, to prevent the alarm from ringing for long periods

Cockerel noise

Noise complaints from crowing cockerels are more frequent during the spring and summer months due to the longer daylight hours. If a cockerel is crowing at unsocial hours, such as at night, early morning or late evening, it is more likely to be considered a nuisance. Cockerels kept in a built up area is more likely to give rise to complaints.

What can owners do to help?

  • make sure the cockerel is as far away as possible from your neighbours' house.
  • Put the cockerel into a hen house or coop at night. The coop should be kept as dark as possible.
  • Do not let your cockerel out until a reasonable hour. We would recommend after 08:00.
  • a high level shelf can be put in the hen house to allow the cockerel to walk around at normal height, but which prevents it stretching its neck to make the crowing sound.
  • Other cockerels in the area will try to compete with each other and this can increase crowing. Therefore ideally only have one cockerel.
  • If a number of different cockerels are kept on the same land consideration should be given to separate coops for each breed.

Commercial noise

Sometimes we can be disturbed by excessive noise coming from industrial or commercial premises. Examples are machinery noise, fan noises, vehicle movements, alarms and radios. Where these occur continuously or loudly, or when they are new noises, they can be very irritating.

Firework noise

Fireworks are widely used to mark public and private celebrations as well as traditional events. Whilst they can add excitement to these occasions they can also frighten and disturb people and animals, cause annoyance, damage and have an adverse impact on air quality. The bright colours and effects in fireworks are produced by chemicals that are released into the atmosphere.

To avoid noise problems with fireworks we recommend that you:

  • Tell your neighbours about the display
  • Use appropriate fireworks - try to avoid the really noisy ones
  • Make sure pets and other animals are safely away
  • Consider the timing of the display
  • Avoid letting off fireworks in unsuitable weather such as when it is still or misty
  • Locate the fireworks away from buildings that could reflect noise

The Fireworks Regulations 2004 introduce a number of controls:

  • No person under 18 may possess an adult firework in a public place
  • No person shall use an adult firework between the hours of 23.00 and 07.00 - there are exemptions for Chinese New Year, 5 November, Diwali and New Year (the permitted fireworks nights) This is regulated by the police.
  • No person shall supply a category 3 firework that produces a sound pressure level greater than 120dB(A)
  • Anyone supplying adult fireworks must be licensed to do so - there are exemptions for short periods preceding the permitted fireworks nights

Noisy neighbours

Noise from neighbours is a common source of nuisance. We can all expect, or make, some level of neighbour noise as no house or flat is totally soundproof. However, if this noise is unreasonable there is action the District Council can take to resolve the problem.

However, if the problem is poor insulation between properties, when perfectly reasonable noise from normal activity is heard in the adjacent property we are likely to be unable to help.

In general, if you are being disturbed by noise, if possible approach the person causing the problem and explain that you are being troubled by their noise. Most people will be glad to do what they can to reduce noise, informally. Approach the matter carefully if you think they may react angrily to a complaint. Otherwise contact Environmental Health for help.

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