Noise nuisance

Noise nuisance is a form of pollution that can have a negative effect on us all. Anything from noisy neighbours to machinery in a local factory can be a problem.

What can I do if I am affected by noise?

The action you can take depends on the nature of the noise nuisance. Is it an isolated incident such as a party held by normally quiet neighbours, or is it more often? It may be that the noise is from industrial or commercial premises.

The key question you need to ask is: “Is the noise more than is tolerable to a reasonable person?”

The volume, type, time and duration of a noise and the neighbourhood where you live are all important factors when assessing noise for nuisance.

You should first talk to the person making the noise as they may not realise they are disturbing you. Most disputes are best settled by people talking over their problems and showing consideration for each other.

How can the council help?

If you cannot resolve the matter or do not feel able to approach the person making the noise, you can make an official complaint to our Environmental Health team. Please note that we will only investigate your complaint if we can get in touch with you, so please give your real name, address and contact details. We will not disclose your identity to the person you are complaining about.

Make a Noise Complaint Online

What happens next?

  • we will start an investigation within seven working days of receiving your complaint to determine if the noise is causing an unreasonable disturbance and can be considered a statutory nuisance

  • we may ask you to keep a written log that records details of the noise, along with dates and times. This helps us to investigate the complaint - if you fail to do this when asked your complaint will be closed

  • we will either visit the person causing the problem or use noise measuring or recording equipment if the noise occurs at night or at irregular intervals

  • if the problem cannot be resolved informally, we may serve an Abatement Notice on the person responsible for the noise

  • if the noise continues, we can take court action against the person responsible. If this happens, you must be prepared to give evidence to the court under oath.

Your identity will not be disclosed or discussed with the person being complained about unless we are legally obliged to do so. This usually only happens if the matter goes to court.

Can I take my own legal action?

We may advise you that no nuisance was found or that it was not possible to get evidence of nuisance even after reasonable investigations.

In these cases, you can take your complaint directly to the Magistrates’ Court without our involvement. You will require a substantial amount of evidence and should contact the Clerk of the Court at the local Magistrates’ Court to discuss the procedure. You may also wish to seek independent legal advice.

The Clerk to the Justice
Peterborough Magistrates’ Court
The Court House
Bridge Street
Telephone: 01223 376000

Is there anything else I should know?

We are unable to deal with complaints of noise nuisance caused by road traffic, trains and aircraft. However, our environmental health officers may be able to advise you on the best course of action if you are disturbed in this way.