Noise nuisance

Section 79(1) of the Environmental Protection Act requires the local authority to take such steps as are reasonably practicable to investigate complaints that relate to:

  • Noise from premises (both domestic and commercial)
  • Noise from vehicles or equipment in a street (for example, car alarms but not traffic noise)
  • Noise from amplified music in the street (for example, car stereos)
  • Noise from machinery or equipment in the street
  • Noise from bird scarers (Please note, if only advice is required then refer to the National Farmers Union Code of Practice)

The following are not actionable:

  • Noise from shouting and brawling occurring in the street
  • Noise from motor vehicles (except in those cases indicated above)
  • Noise from the playing of games in the street or public open spaces

Where the department cannot take action, we shall do our best to advise you of other organisations (for example, mediation service, Housing Department and Citizens Advice Bureau or Police) which may be able to assist you.

Noisy Neighbours

Before becoming involved, we will expect you to have approached your neighbour either personally or in writing.

If you feel that matter has gone beyond this approach, contact the Environmental Health Department. Further information will be supplied to help you understand your legal rights. We will also supply you with a noise log form. We will need you to keep a record of the occurrences of noise nuisance over a 4-week period. Once you have completed this and returned it to our department, we will undertake to assess the extent of the problem and give you a decision on our next step within one week. In all of the above proceedings your name and address will not be disclosed.

Download the Diary of Noise Disturbances log form.

Please ensure you include a full name and postal address in all correspondence

Environmental Health Service
South Cambridgeshire Hall
Cambourne Business Park
CB23 6EA

Reducing Noise at Home - House Alarms

If you have an old or faulty burglar alarm, replace it with one complying with British Standard BS 4737. Notify the local authority that you have an alarm and register a key holder with the police.

If your alarm sounds and the local authority have to disconnect it you are liable for a fine.

Although the amount of noise made by any one person or household may seem negligible, it can make a real difference to the comfort of neighbours and even other members of the household. The following simple measures can be taken:

  • Site noisy household equipment (for example, washing machines) away from partition walls.

When buying a new household appliance, ask how noisy it is. If people opt for quiet appliances, manufacturers will make them!

  • Perform noisy DIY jobs during normal waking hours.
  • Apologise to neighbours in advance for disturbance caused by DIY.
  • Keep the volume of TV, radio and music as low as possible, especially late at night. If you want to turn the volume up, use headphones (but be careful not to deafen yourself!).
  • If your dog barks when left alone, arrange to leave it with a friend.
  • If you have a party, tell your neighbours in advance, and keep the noise to a minimum.

We will not usually investigate the following:

  • Noise from Aeroplanes - Please contact the Civil Aviation Authority on 020 74536524
  • Noise from roads - Please Contact the Department of Transport on 020 7944 8300
  • Noise from Railways - Please contact Network Rail on 020 7557 8000
  • Engine testing noise from Marshall's Airport - Please contact Marshall's on 01223 373950

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