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There are many ways in which you can make a noise complaint.

How you can make a noise complaint

Complaints can be made:

Noise complaints are dealt with by the Environmental Health Division.

Make a noise complaint - opens new window

Information we need

When making a noise complaint, please tell us:

  • Your name, address, telephone number and /or email. 
  • The address or site of where the noise is coming from.
  • The type of noise, e.g. barking dogs, loud music etc.
  • When the noise happens.
  • How long the noise lasts for (keep a written record of noise you hear).
  • The effect that the noise has on you, e.g. not being able to sleep.
  • How you have dealt with the problem, e.g. talking to the person who is making the noise.

Although we do not reveal who has made the complaint, they may ask if it was you. If a case comes to court then you may be asked to appear as a witness.

Please note that we are unable to follow up complaints where the caller will not give their name and address.

Noise outside of office hours?

We do not operate an out of hours noise service. You can make a recording using the Noise App.

If you have already reported the problem to us, please record the incident using the Noise App or on the incident log which we sent to you and contact the case officer on the next working day. 

The Police may be able to assist if the noise is occurring in the street or is associated with anti-social behaviour.

What we will do

A letter or email will be sent to you within 4 days of you making a complaint. We will ask you to keep a diary using the Noise App or use the incident log sheet.

You will need to keep the diary of the incidents for 14 days and then send it back to env.health@stevenage.gov.uk, by post or in person.

Noise App recordings are sent to us via the app.

We ask you to keep a noise incident log sheet because:

  • it helps us to work out whether the noise is likely to be a “statutory nuisance”
  • It will help us to find out the times when an Officer is most likely to hear the noise
  • the incident log sheet can be used in court

If after 28 days, we have not received any further Noise App recordings or your incident log sheet back, we will assume that you have managed to sort out the problem and we will not take any other action.

If your complaint is linked to another agency such as the Civil Aviation Authority for aircraft noise, we will pass your complaint on to them and let you know who to contact.

If your Noise App recordings or incident logs sheet suggests that the noise is unreasonable, our Officer will write to the person that you have complained about to let them know that we have received a complaint and ask them to co-operate in keeping the noise levels down. Your name will not be mentioned. You will also receive a letter from us telling you what will happen next.

It is important that you continue to make Noise App recordings and keep your incident log sheet because if there are more problems they can be used in any legal action we may need to take.

If the noise continues after we have written, we will need to witness the noise to decide whether it is a statutory nuisance.

In many cases we will be able to witness the noise ourselves, but if the noise doesn’t go on for very long on each occasion, is unpredictable in its frequency of occurrence, occurs outside of office hours, or is otherwise proving difficult for an officer to witness, we may use recording equipment instead. If recording equipment is used, we will require the complainant to provide a witness statement to support our investigation before we can take legal action.

Once we are sure that a statutory nuisance exists, a Noise Abatement Notice will be sent to the person/s causing the problem. Sometimes this means that they will be given a certain amount of time to carry out work that is needed to stop the noise from being a problem.

After a Noise Abatement Notice has been served, it is a criminal offence not to obey it, and the person can be taken to court.

We aim to look at your complaint within two months, after which we can decide what action needs to be taken. Whilst many complaints will be sorted out within this time, there are others, especially those where there isn't a pattern to the noise which may take longer.

The Officer who is dealing with your complaint will keep in contact with you to let you know what is happening.

Sometimes we are not able to take action, again this can be in situations where we have not been able to hear the noise or where the noise is not loud enough for us to legally do anything to stop it. If this is the case then we will let you know.

When is noise nuisance a statutory nuisance?

Noise nuisance is covered by Part III of the Environment Protection Act 1990. This law empowers local authorities to deal with noise from fixed premises and from vehicles, machinery and equipment on the highway. Before action can be taken, we have to be sure that the noise constitutes a statutory nuisance. This means that we have to prove that the noise is prejudicial to health and/or is causing an unreasonable and persistent disturbance to your lifestyle.

We will take into account:

  • the time that the noise occurs
  • how long it goes on for
  • how often it happens
  • how loud it is

There is no fixed level of noise which the law says is a statutory nuisance and so, whilst some noises may be irritating, we cannot always take action to stop them.

Environmental Health and Licensing

Daneshill House
Danestrete
Stevenage
Herts
SG1 1HN

env.health@stevenage.gov.uk

01438 242908 / 242916

© 2020 Stevenage Borough Council