Market stall helps to tackle noise

Published Monday 23 May 2016

Barking dogs, rowdy neighbours and hot tub parties are just some of the noise complaints made by residents in the Harborough district.

During Noise Action Week – running until 27 May 2016 – Harborough District Council will be working with others to raise awareness and offer advice about noise.

Council environment experts will also join the Harborough District Community Safety Partnership on a stall at Harborough Market to provide advice on Tuesday 31 May 2016 (during half term week).

The Council’s Environment Team and Community Safety Team work in partnership with police, throughout the year, to reduce the impact of noise in the district – using both a ‘proactive’ and ‘reactive’ approach.

The team responds to complaints or enquiries from the public ranging from issues with barking dogs, noisy parties, to loud swimming pool pumps.  They also get complaints about times of deliveries to shops, ‘piling’ used to sink deep foundations at construction sites, or noises from extraction or refrigeration units. 

They also use a ‘pro-active’ approach to try and prevent or reduce noise impact before it causes problems to neighbours – working with the planning team on new developments, and working with the licensing team to establish acceptable levels of noise at pubs, clubs, or music festivals.

A Harborough District Council spokesman said: “One of the biggest issues with noise is tolerance.  Homes and industries are being built closer together and we are increasingly a diverse neighbourhood with cultures, working patterns and lifestyles.  It’s about reconnecting with people and actively acknowledging our own impact on others, and a little bit of give and take.” 

Visit the market stall or report noise issues online via Harborough District Council’s website


More information

There is no prescribed decibel within legislation, and no specified times when noise is acceptable.  With each case, noise is assessed as to whether or not it is acceptable having regard to various guidance and codes of practice, and if not, what steps can be taken to remediate it.

When complaints are received, evidence is gathered such as asking complainants to complete diary sheets. Then questions are asked to ascertain if the diary sheets show a pattern? Is the noise of a continuing or persistent nature?  Is the noise likely to cause a problem to the ‘average person’? And take action if necessary – further monitoring such as the noise monitoring equipment, advice and warning letters and finally, as a last resort, legal action.  The Environment Regulatory Services team have powers under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, The Control of Pollution Act 1974 and The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to tackle noise, where appropriate.

Roughly a third of all complaints to Regulatory Services are in relation to dog barking.  All dogs bark, but here are five tips for reducing the likelihood of dog barking becoming a noise nuisance:

  1. If barking is directed at things outside of your property, try to occupy your dog at times it is likely to be disturbed, eg. during the school run, or try keeping the curtains closed or the dog in a back room so it cannot see passers by.
  2. Leave the radio or music on low, whilst you are out to give the illusion of company.
  3. Leave out chew toys or hide food to occupy your dog whilst you are out.
  4. Make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.
  5. Consider getting someone to look after your dog while you are away.  Licensed home boarders, or licensed dog day boarders can be a great alternative to a bored frustrated animal.  For further information please contact the Licensing team at your local authority.