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Noise is unwanted sound, a source of annoyance and stress which can even damage our hearing if it is very loud. Excessive and unreasonable noise can make someone’s life a misery.
The law imposes set limits of exposure to loud noise in the workplace, yet there are no such controls on noise nuisance which affects us at home, even though it can be a statutory nuisance i.e. above specified levels deemed to be safe.
Whether noise amounts to a statutory nuisance depends amongst other things upon how loud it is, how often it happens and for how long, its tonal characteristics and the reason why it is being made.
We have powers to deal with problems from a wide range of noise sources, including neighbour noise, noise from demolition or construction sites, noise or music from licensed premises (pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants), burglar alarms, vehicle alarms and audible bird scarers.
A common source of the noise complaints are from domestic activities including:
Noisy neighbours who are tenants of Newark and Sherwood Homes or any social landlord may be in breach of their tenancy conditions.
If you are being disturbed by noise from a neighbour, we recommend that you try to resolve the problem by speaking to the noise-maker yourself if at all possible. Consider approaching them to explain politely that you are being troubled by their noise. Often people are unaware that they are causing a problem and most will be happy to do what they can to reduce noise.
However, approach the matter carefully if you think your neighbour might react angrily to a complaint. If this approach has little or no effect and you are still bothered by the noise, please contact us.
You can also report anti-social behaviour via Newark and Sherwood Homes if the noise is coming from a tenant of the council.
We may nvestigate complaints from naturally noisy operations such as building works (including DIY), road-works, demolition and dredging. Sometimes construction or demolition noise may be occurring at unreasonable times from poorly maintained equipment, or the activities are not using methods to control or minimise noise.
Under the Control of Pollution Act 1974 the council can serve a notice imposing requirements as to how the construction works should be carried out to minimise any problems. In some instances, we can set noise limits by taking into account the character of the local area.
If you are intending to carry out construction works, you may apply to us in advance for consent. However, please note that complying with the terms of a notice or consent does not rule out proceedings by an individual on the grounds of noise nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act.
The Considerate Constructor Scheme is where contractors agree to abide by a code of practice to minimise disturbance and ensure safety. Where this is the case, they usually display a sign with a complaints number at the site where the construction activities are taking place.
We may investigate complaints of noise from places of entertainment including pubs, bars, restaurants and outdoor events and festivals.
We are routinely consulted on new developments that are subject to planning and licensing applications and may make recommendations on measures to reduce the impact of noise from patrons and revellers.
The Licensing Act 2003 requires specified premises and events to apply for a licence to carry out such activities.
Once operational, we can measure noise levels, give advice to the management about the amount of noise coming from the premises and take further legal action if necessary.
Complaints of this nature are investigated in a similar way to that of other domestic and industrial noise sources.
Noise nuisance can be caused by faulty burglar alarms or if your alarm rings regularly for no apparent reason.
If you have a burglar alarm fitted to your property we recommend the following measures to avoid this becoming a problem:
Should your alarm cause a noise nuisance by ringing for no apparent reason the council can serve a notice on you requiring you to stop causing the nuisance. If you fail to comply the council may have to gain entry to your property and disable the alarm in your absence. A charge will then be made to carry out this work and you may still be prosecuted and liable for a fine of up to £5,000 in the courts.
Vehicle alarms that develop faults and sound continuously for no apparent reason can become a noise nuisance for a prolonged period, especially in residential areas.
Alarms should be checked regularly and any faults rectified to prevent problems occurring.
If a complaint is made we will attempt to contact the owner through the police so they can deal with their alarm. If the keeper of the vehicle cannot be contacted a notice can be served requiring the keeper to switch off the alarm. The notice can be placed on the vehicle concerned or served directly on the registered keeper and any person responsible for the vehicle.
After a reasonable period of time, if the alarm is still sounding, we can arrange for the alarm to be switched off. If that isn't possible, the vehicle may be removed to a secure place. Any costs incurred will be recovered from the keeper of the vehicle. In both instances the police must be notified of the action to be taken.
Also known as Gas ‘Guns’ or ‘Bangers’, these sound like shotguns and are sometimes used by farmers to protect crops from bird damage. In rural areas, they can be a nuisance if they are too close to homes, are pointed in the wrong direction or sound too often or at night.
The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has produced a Code of Practice as a guide for farmers to use these devices in an acceptable way, which minimises problems for others.
Newark and Sherwood District Council
Newark and Sherwood District Council