Noise and nuisance
Investigating your nuisance complaint
The exact sequence will depend on the individual circumstances of the complaint, but the following is a broad indication of the actions you can expect.
Upon submitting an online noise and nuisance report form, you will receive an email acknowledgment containing the information required to progress your complaint. Typically, you will be required to gather initial evidence which will allow the case officer to assess the problem and decide on the next course of action. Evidence can be gathered in a variety of ways with the most common being our nuisance record sheets. If you have a compatible smartphone or tablet and your complaint relates to noise, you can download and submit evidence using the NoiseApp - further information on how to do this will be provided in your email acknowledgment. If there is evidence of an ongoing problem, we are likely to monitor the issue using electronic monitoring equipment and/or officer observations depending on the nature of the problem. We do not write to the source of alleged nuisance until we have received the initial evidence.
Upon receipt of the initial evidence, a case officer will assess whether or not the issues you are experiencing will amount to a statutory nuisance. If the case officer is satisfied that there is an issue then an advisory letter will be sent out to the source of the alleged nuisance. The purpose of an advisory letter is to provide the person causing the issue with an opportunity to change what they are doing and resolve the issue informally. We will usually try to resolve the problem informally in the first instance.
If evidence of a statutory nuisance is obtained and the person causing the complaint does not take immediate action to stop it, the council will normally serve an abatement notice under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This notice would require abatement of the nuisance and may prevent a recurrence.
What happens if an abatement notice is ignored?
If a person is served with an abatement notice and fails to comply without good reason, they will have committed an offence and may be prosecuted. The council also has the power to obtain a warrant to enter premises to take action to abate a nuisance. This can, for example, be used for burglar alarms in vacant premises and to remove noise-making equipment when a nuisance continues after the service of a notice. Nuisance may be just one symptom of more general anti-social behaviour. In such cases our Community Safety team may become involved, as may the Police. Other bodies, which may become involved, could include social services, the council's housing service, housing associations and private landlords.