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Pollution - noise

What can I do about my noisy neighbours?

The most common domestic noise problems are caused by loud music or television, barking dogs, shouting, banging doors and DIY activities.  If noise is causing regular and unreasonable disturbance to you, it may amount to a statutory nuisance or anti-social behaviour.

More information and advice on noise nuisance is available in the following pdf document. 

Noise Leaflet (pdf 164kb opens in new window)

Firstly, you should try resolving your complaint by talking to your neighbour to make them aware of the problem.  An informal approach is usually preferable, as involving the council can sometimes damage relations with your neighbours.   If you do not feel comfortable speaking to them directly at first, we have provided an example template letter which you can amend for your situation.

Neighbour noise letter (word 25kb opens in new window)

Barking dogs

Read more about barking dogs, and how to report them to the council. 

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How do I avoid causing a noise nuisance to my neighbours?

The following pdf documents are available to give guidance and advice on how to minimise noise disturbance to neighbours.

Controlling noise from cockerels (pdf 52kb opens in new window)

Barking dogs leaflet (pdf 63kb opens in new window)

Good practice guide for contractors (pdf 72kb opens in new window)

Guidance to farmers on the use of bird scarers (pdf 433kb opens in new window) 

Fireworks leaflet (pdf 200kb opens in new window) 

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If I have an intruder alarm fitted, what should I do?

Alarms should be fitted with an automatic cut-off device, so that they stop ringing after 20 minutes. However, they can often misfire and are a common cause of noise complaints.

It is a good idea to make sure that a neighbour or someone close by has access to your property and can deactivate the alarm (ie. a keyholder) in the event your alarm misfires while you are away. This will avoid the need for the council to take formal action to silence an alarm if it is causing a statutory noise nuisance. In such cases the council can recharge the cost incurred to the homeowner.

You can register keyholder details online (opens in new window), so that we can contact them if you are not available, should we receive a complaint about your alarm misfiring. You do not need to tell us the deactivation code, or provide a key, just the details of someone who has them.

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What legal powers does the council have to resolve a noise problem?

If we investigate a noise complaint and are satisfied it is anti-social or a statutory nuisance, the council can issue a formal notice on the person or business responsible, to get them to stop the nuisance or behaviour within a given amount of time. 

It is an offence not to comply with a notice, and anyone found guilty can be served with a fixed penalty or prosecuted and fined.

Any costs incurred by the council where a notice has not been complied with, will be recharged to the person who was issued with the notice.  This includes silencing a misfiring intruder alarm where a key-holder cannot be found.

Additionally, the council has powers to obtain a warrant and seize noise making equipment eg. music systems and TVs.

More information and advice on noise nuisance is available in the following pdf document. 

Noise Leaflet (pdf 164kb opens in new window)

You can also view a copy of the council's enforcement policy.

Statutory nuisance and noise

To be considered a statutory nuisance, the noise has to be serious enough to be interfering substantially with your well-being, or comfort and enjoyment of your property.  This may include certain types of noise.  

Read more about statutory nuisance laws on the website:

Statutory Nuisance - Environmental Protection Act 1990 (external website)

Anti-social behaviour and noise

To be considered anti-social behaviour, the noise has to be having a detrimental effect, of a persistant or continuing nature, on the quality of life of those in the neighbourhood.  You can read more about how the council deals with anti-social behaviour.

Read more about anti-social behaviour laws on the website:

Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (external website)

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What about commercial, industrial and agricultural noise?

The same procedures normally apply for investigating a noise nuisance from commercial, industrial and agricultural premises, as they do for domestic noise complaints.  Depending on the type of premises we may contact the council’s licensing section or planning enforcement section as part of our investigation.  Some large industrial and waste facilities may also have an environmental permit which can include conditions to control noise pollution, and these are enforced by either the Environment Agency or the council.

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Is there any guidance for buskers and street performers?

There is currently no licensing or registration scheme for street performers in the East Riding.  However, if you intend to play live amplified music you may require a temporary events notice from the Licensing Team.

The following pdf document provides further advice to buskers and street performers on avoiding noise problems.

Guide for street performers (buskers) (pdf 242kb opens in new window)

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What types of noise will the council not normally investigate?

The following are examples of sources of noise that the council will not usually be able to investigate.

  • children playing
  • the occasional party or celebration
  • normal domestic noise such as washing machines, tumble driers (during reasonable hours), doors slamming, flushing toilets, footsteps, and talking/conversation
  • road and rail traffic
  • aircraft

The following pdf document provides contact details to report noise from aircraft

Contact details for aircraft noise (pdf 21kb opens in new window)

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How do I report a noise problem to the council?

For non-urgent problems, you can report noise pollution online  

You will need to provide a brief description of the problem, the name of the person causing the problem (if known) and the address or location, as well as your contact details, including telephone number and home address, so that we can contact you to discuss the issue further.

We usually aim to respond to non-urgent complaints within five working days.

For urgent problems which require an immediate response, such as a misfiring alarm, you can call us on:

Telephone: (01482) 396301 (during office hours 8.30am – 5.00pm Monday – Thursday, 8.30am – 4.30pm Friday)

Telephone: (01482) 393939 (outside office hours) 

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Do you investigate anonymous complaints?

We cannot usually investigate anonymous complaints.

To prove noise is a statutory nuisance or anti-social behaviour, the council will need to investigate the problem at the complainant’s property. When carrying out visits, we will be as discreet as is reasonably practicable, and we will keep your details confidential, in accordance with our data protection policy.  However, the complainant will be expected to keep a diary of noise problems suffered and to provide a statement of witness or attend court should formal action be necessary.  

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What if the council cannot help me with my noise complaint?

In some cases the council may not be able to get sufficient evidence to be able to take any action on your behalf. In such cases, you can take private action by complaining directly to the magistrates’ court. This is a simple process and need not cost much. You do not need to employ a solicitor but it is advisable to seek some legal advice prior to taking such action. More information is available in the following pdf document.

Noise Leaflet (pdf 164kb opens in new window)

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Where can I get advice on sound insulation?

The current building regulations on sound insulation are available on the Planning Portal website

Planning Portal - building regulations for sound insulation (external website)

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Will I have to do a noise assessment as part of my planning application?

If you are proposing a potentially noisy development such as an industrial site or certain leisure activities near to noise sensitive buildings, such as homes or schools, then you may need to carry out a noise assessment as part of your application. Similarly, if you are proposing a noise sensitive development near to an existing source of noise, this will also need to be assessed.

The National Planning Policy Framework requires planning policies and decisions to:

  • avoid noise giving rise to significant adverse impacts on health and quality of life as a result of new development;
  • mitigate and reduce to a minimum other adverse impacts on health and quality of life arising from noise from new development, including through the use of conditions;
  • recognise that development will often create some noise and existing businesses wanting to develop in continuance of their business should not have unreasonable restrictions put on them because of changes in nearby land uses since they were established; and
  • identify and protect areas of tranquillity which have remained relatively undisturbed by noise and are prized for their recreational and amenity value for this reason.

The National Planning Policy Framework is available on the Government's planning website. - National Planning Policy Framework (external website)

There is also National Planning Practice Guidance available as an online resource.

National Planning Practice Guidance - Noise (external website)

You are advised to seek specialist advice from a noise consultant when preparing a planning application which could fall into the above scenarios.  More information on noise consultants and noise assessments can be found on the Institute of Acoustics website and the Association of Noise Consultants website.

Institute of Acoustics (external website)

Association of Noise Consultants (external website)

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