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 propertiesWe can't deal with one off parties which are unlikely to happen again.|
Highways Agency (M4 and A roads)
Other roads can be reported here
|Commercial noise from a business which is happening regularly.|
|DIY Noise which is carried out over time periods and at unreasonable hours|
Aircraft noise (non-military)
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
|Alarm sounding continuously from buildings and vehicles|
MOD noise from Salisbury Plain
Complaints desk 01980 620819
|Dog barking complaints it is often difficult to prove nuisance with complaints of this type, information on dog behaviour can be found here||Noise where the complainant is more sensitive to noise due to personal or health issues|
Normal operating hours for noisy activities would be 7.30am 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, motocross and motorsports|
|Noise from activities in the street such as ice cream chimes, loudspeakers|
- We need your name, address, contact telephone number and e-mail address, we do not take anonymous 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. If the the time of the noise varies or changes, for example loud music, parties, noise from sporting activities or DIY noise then please complete oursent to us. When completed they should be scanned and
- 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 continuous 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
- 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
When we have received yourofficers will assess the information. This process will likely involve a combination of installing sound recording requirement and visits to your home in order to gather the necessary evidence. If required, we will install the sound recording equipment twice in your home and will carry out up to three visits to your home to substantiate your complaint. If after the three visits no noise nuisance has been established, the council will close the investigation.
If after two occasions of monitoring no nuisance has been established. the council will close the investigation.
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.
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.