Noise and nuisance
The most common sources of noise pollution are:
- stereos / televisions
- loud music
- persistent dog barking
- parties and functions
- house intruder alarms
- construction and demolition including DIY
- noise from vehicles and equipment in a street
- fireworks - read Environmental Protection UK's fireworks advice leaflet
Certain types of noise are unlikely to be deemed a statutory nuisance unless there is a substantial interference and an element of malice associated with the noise that can be proven. Therefore the Council is unable to assist with noise complaints where the source is:
- Children playing eg in a garden, public space or park
- Talking or shouting, unless unreasonably loud or at unreasonable times
- Voices in the street
- Day-to-day domestic noise (eg lawn mowing, hedge trimming, washing machines, vacuuming etc)
- Traffic noise (including essential roadworks and maintenance)
- Railway noise (including essential maintenance)
- Aircraft noise
We are also unable to investigate random intermittent noises that are of very short term, irregular and unpredictable noise e.g. door slamming and single vehicle movements.
The person responsible for the noise may not be aware of the effects that the noise is having. Where possible, discuss the problem with them, as this will often resolve the issue and help maintain good neighbour relations. If you are worried about approaching them, write a polite letter, explaining the problem clearly and sticking to the facts. You can use our example template letter as a guide on what to include.
It is normal and natural for dogs to bark. But when barking happens a lot, or goes on for a long time, it can be annoying and upsetting to neighbours.
What can I do?
If you are a dog owner and have been approached by a neighbour about your dog barking excessively, the first step is to calmly talk things over with them and try to work out a solution. However, you should approach the matter carefully if you feel that your neighbour might react angrily. If the problem continues, you can report dog barking using our online noise and nuisance report form.
You can get further advice on reducing the amount of noise your dog is making in this DEFRA booklet. You could also consider placing your dog in a licenced boarding establishment within Harborough District whilst you are out working or away from the home for extended periods of time.
Common sources of noise from commercial premises that we may be able to help with include:
- noise from industrial or agricultural sources
- pubs, clubs and restaurants
- noise from outdoor events
- construction sites
Pubs and clubs
Noise originating from pubs and clubs can be annoying to local residents if it is uncontrolled or exceeds what one could reasonably expect from an entertainment venue.
Residents must be prepared to experience some degree of inconvenience if they live near to a pub or club, but sometimes this becomes intolerable. Whenever possible, if a new pub or club is opening, or an existing premises is undergoing refurbishment, we try to anticipate the likely noise problems through the planning and licensing consultation processes.
Much of the plant and machinery and methods of work used in construction and demolition are intrinsically very noisy and may give rise to vibration.
Under the Control of Pollution Act 1974, and the Environmental Protection Act 1990 the Council has specific powers to deal with noise from construction sites. The main method of control is through restricting the hours during which noisy works are permitted.
Generally, where there is the potential to cause noise nuisance, contractors are expected to stick to the following hours of work
- 8.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday
- 8.00am to 1.00pm on Saturdays
- No noisy works should be carried out on Sundays or Bank Holidays.
Within these hours, there is an expectation under this legislation that ‘best practicable means’ will be used to prevent nuisance from occurring.
In some circumstances, for example, emergency works or works to Highways may be undertaken outside of these hours. Such works may require prior approval from the Council and if so, will only be granted under exceptional circumstances. However, the site operator must effectively demonstrate that work could not be undertaken at any other time and the method of operation would ensure that the noise impact is kept to a minimum.
Emergency works to gas or water supplies may also be carried out at short notice and this may be at nighttime.
Many outdoor events, particularly those held during the summer, may involve noisy activities. These activities can include music, fireworks, fairgrounds and rides, public address systems or generators. Noise from these activities can therefore be a source of annoyance to local residents, and measures should be taken to minimise it.
There is a nationally recognised Noise Council Code of Practice on Noise at Concerts.
Those responsible for arranging events should consider the potential for noise at the planning stage. Event organisers should complete our event notification form if they are planning to hold an event within the Harborough district. Find out more information about the event notification process at www.harborough.gov.uk/event-toolkit