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Noise nuisance

COVID-19 - Noise and reopening of Pubs and other venues:

We all welcome the reopening of hospitality premises on the 4 July. This means that pubs and other similar venues that have been quiet for many months will be coming back to life and there will be some noise associated with this.
It is important that we continue the work to keep COVID-19 on the retreat. COVID-19 this is an infection spread by airborne droplets.

To this end we would ask patrons not to be too noisy. We also ask they be considerate to neighbours of these pubs who will be experiencing a change in their environment as we progress out of lockdown.

The government’s guidance is clear:

  • at this time, venues should not permit live performances, including drama, comedy and music
  • all venues should ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other, to avoid aerosol transmission.
  • This includes, but is not limited to, refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult and thereby increases the risk of aerosol transmission.
  • You should take similar steps to prevent other close contact activities, such as communal dancing.

Pub and restaurant operators can find the guidance online. Not knowing someone who has had the illness or not having had the virus yourself, does not mean it is not present in the environment; it does mean all our hard work is working. We all want to get back to enjoying going to the pub, cinema, festivals and all the other things we love to do, again and soon, so please keep to the guidance and enjoy your weekend.

Noise complaint procedure

Wiltshire Council’s Environmental Protection Department receive around 3000 complaints about noise every year.  

We can only deal with noise complaints where we have the legal power to take action.

Before you make a complaint check the list to see if your complaint is something we can investigate

Noise complaints we can investigate
Noise complaints we can't investigate
Loud Music, TV's, noisy parties from domestic properties We can't deal with one off parties which are unlikely to happen again.

Highway noise

Highways Agency (M4 and A roads)

Other roads can be reported here

Construction of roads

Commerical noise from a business which is happening regularly.

Railway noise

Network Rail

Information for people who live or work near a railway

DIY Noise which is carried out over time periods and at unreasonable hours

Aircraft noise (non-military)

The UK Civil Aviation Authority how to make a complaint

You may also wish to contact the airfield you believe is associated with the noise as they will have their own complaints process.

Plant, machinery and equipment

Military aircraft noise

Ministry of Defence Air Staff

Alarm sounding continuously from buildings and vehicles

MOD noise from Salisbury Plain

Salisbury Plain Training Area newsletters (SPTA)

Complaints desk 01980 620819

Dog barking complaints are often difficult to prove a nuisance, information on dog behaviour can be found here
Noise where the complainant is more sensitive to noise due to personal or health issues

Construction site noise

Normal operating hours for noisy activities would be 8am to 6pm Mon-Fri, Sat 8am-1pm and none on Sunday and bank holidays.

General everyday noise heard between properties due to poor sound insulation
Noise from sporting activities such as clay pigeon shooting, motorcross and motorsports

Noise from activities in the street such as ice cream chimes, loudpseakers

  • We need your name, address, contact telephone number and e-mail address, we do not take annoynmous noise complaints as we need to know who is impacted by the noise to take action. We do not share your details with the offender
  • We need to know the address of where the noise is coming from
  • Tell us what type of noise it is and how it is impacting on you, where and when can you hear it. Complete the Noise Monitoring sheets in the downloads section
  • If your complaint is about an alarm, do not enter the building but if you suspect a break in please call the police on 101. If the alarm is from a car please tell us the registration number plate and location
  • If the noise is coming from a constant or happens at the same time on a regular day for example every Monday morning at 5am or the noise is from a fan which operates when a business is operating then please call us to make a complaint, an officer will contact you within 5 working days
  • If the time of the noise varies or changes for example loud music, parties, noise from sporting activites, DIY Noise then please complete our noise monitoring logs. When completed they should be scanned and  sent to us
  • We are unable to listen to noise recordings that you send to use due to our IT security settings
  • If you have a disability which may impact on how you communicate with us or how we should contact you, do let us know

If you are planning a party or carrying out any DIY or anything else that may disrupt your neighbours then it is strongly recommended that you let them know well in advance of your intentions. 

  • Have a chat with people who may hear the noise to let them know what you are doing or put a note through the door in advance
  • Let them know how long the noise will last and your details so that they can contact you if the noise becomes a problem
  • Often people will be more accepting of a noisy activity or event if they are pre-warned and know when it will stop
  • Control the volume of music even during the day, tastes in music vary and not everyone may share your enthusiasm for your music
  • Control the bass level; low frequencies are transmitted further and through structures
  • Keep music levels lower after 11pm and not audible outside the property
  • Avoid playing loud music outside
  • Avoid carrying out noisy DIY activities, early in the morning, evenings, Sundays or bank holidays when others may want to relax
  • If you are having an event involving music in your property or on your land go outside and check how loud the noise is when the event is happening, and if necessary take action to reduce noise levels to a reasonable level

1. If your noise complaint is about regular early morning deliveries, constant fan type noise or regular noise, please contact us. For all other noise sources please complete our noise monitoring sheets which can be found under our useful downloads section and either e-mail them to us, send them to us or drop off at one of our offices.

2. When we have received your noise monitoring logs officers will assess the information and usually undertake a maximum of three visits to substantiate your complaint.  If after the three visits no noise nuisance has been established, the council will close the investigation.

3. Recording equipment: There is usually a waiting list for the allocation of recording equipment, and officers will prioritise within the resources available, based on the evidence already collected. When available, the noise recording equipment will be left at the complainant’s property, for a period of up to 7 days, or as seen appropriate by the investigating officer.  It is important to note that equipment is normally located inside a dwelling in a habitable room such as a main bedroom or living room.  The complainant’s co-operation will be required to trigger the recording equipment as and when the noise nuisance is occurring.  This will involve pressing a button when the noise nuisance occurs.  Officers will issue advice and guidance when the equipment is installed.  It is important that any advice or instruction given by the Officer is adhered to so that any evidence collected is not jeopardised or corrupted.  If the evidence is used by the authority in any formal action then we would require a witness statement from the person operating the equipment to authenticate the evidence. 

If after two occasions of monitoring no nuisance has been established. the council will close the investigation.

4. Assessment of evidence: Upon the return of the equipment the collected data will be analysed to assess whether a statutory nuisance has occurred. On completion of the assessment, the complainant will be advised of the results, and the way forward. The time involved in this stage of the investigation can vary, depending on the complexity of the complaint.  It is necessary on occasions to analyse a significant amount of data, both audio and statistical, especially in the more complex cases

5. Enforcement: Having considered all the evidence, this investigation will result in one of the following courses of action:

a) No further action if no nuisance is substantiated
b) Informal advice
c) Service of formal statutory notice to abate the nuisance

If an abatement notice is served and not complied with legal action may be taken through the Courts.
Enforcement will be carried out in accordance with Public Protection Enforcement Policy.


Whilst the council does not have a duty to offer an out of hours noise service an emergency service is offered for specific noise issues.

Our normal working hours are 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

The service is accessed by telephoning 0300 456 0107 and following the option for environmental health emergencies.

Duty officers will only respond to specific types of noise complaint that are classed as emergencies. These are:

  • Cases where legal action is, or about to be taken. You will be made aware if your case has been identified for a response out of hours.
  • Externally sounding intruder alarms
  • Where a police officer requests assistance

All other calls which do not meet these criteria are logged, recorded and responded to on the following working day.

Duty Officers will not respond to one off parties or festival events, unless asked by the police to attend in support.

A statutory noise nuisance is determined under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The legal definition of what constitutes a statutory nuisance is complex and based on many years of case law.

We need to consider the following key factors when investigating a noise nuisance:

  • There must be a material interference with the enjoyment and use of the complainant’s property.  The noise must therefore be considerable
  • The noise must substantially affect the enjoyment of comfortable living, such as loss of sleep, interfering with conversation or watching television.  However there would have to be consideration of the time the noise occurs, the intensity of the noise, its character and its duration
  • Isolated acts, unless extreme, would not be considered to be a nuisance, for example ‘one- off’ parties. The problem must normally be continuous or frequent
  • Trivial, harassing or repetitious (vexatious) complaints will not be taken into account
  • Any assessment of whether a particular problem amounts to a statutory nuisance is made from the perspective of an ordinary reasonable person.  This means that the council must exclude any personal circumstances or sensitivities of the complainant from our considerations when assessing nuisance.
    Factors such as unusual shift patterns, medical conditions or other sensitivities of the complainant cannot be taken into account when we decide whether a particular problem is causing a statutory nuisance.

It is a person’s basic right to use and enjoy their property. However, there is no right to tranquillity or silence.


There may be instances where an individual decides they wish to pursue their own action independently of the council.

Information about how to do this can be found on the How to take your own legal action page.


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Noise Monitoring Log Sheets

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Noise Monitoring Log

Noise Monitoring Log, Environmental Protection

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Noise monitoring diary v1 2018

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Last updated: 1 July 2020 | Last reviewed: 1 July 2020