Noise Complaints

Complaints about excessive noise are investigated by officers who can take action if the noise is considered to be a statutory nuisance.

Noise Problems

There are a number of different noise problems which we can investigate:-

  • domestic neighbour noise (e.g. loud music)
  • industrial noise (e.g. noisy machinery)
  • commercial noise (e.g. pubs and clubs)
  • aircraft noise, and
  • barking dogs

Resolving neighbour disputes: Overview - GOV.UK (

Before reporting a noise problem to us, try to contact and talk to the person responsible. It could be that they don’t realise they’re causing a problem and the impact its having on you.

We can only investigate noise complaints if:

  • the noise is regular
  • a diary for at least two weeks is kept, detailing when and how you are being affected by the noise. This will help us to see whether it could be considered a statutory nuisance and require further investigation.

If necessary an Officer will make up to three visits to assess the extent of the noise problem. Visits will be outside normal office hours if necessary.

Noise recording equipment is used in many situations to assess noise problems.

If its found there’s a Statutory Nuisance, a Noise Abatement Notice under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 will be served on the person causing the problem.

Where the notice requires work, a period of time will be given to allow it to be carried out.

Failure to comply with the notice after that time is a criminal offence and the person could be prosecuted.

Sometimes the Council isn’t able to take any action, especially where the noise is intermittent and isn’t judged to be a Statutory Nuisance. You will be informed if this is the case.

Making a complaint

You can make a complaint in person, by telephone (01785 619402), by email or letter to Environmental Health, Stafford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Riverside, Stafford ST16 3AQ.

Your complaint should include:-

  • Your name and address and a daytime 'phone number
  • The address where the noise is coming from
  • The type of noise (for example barking dogs, loud music)
  • When and for how long the noise occurs (it will help if you have kept a written record of the times and dates when the problem has occurred)
  • The way the noise affects you (for example, it keeps you awake)
  • Anything you have done to try to deal with the problem (for example, speaking to the person making the noise)

We will keep your name and address confidential. The person you have made a complaint about may guess who has complained, or may approach you to ask if you have made the complaint.

Taking Your Own Action

Sometimes we’re not able to get sufficient evidence to take action on your behalf, in this case you could consider complaining direct to the Magistrates' Court under section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

This is a simple process and needn’t cost much and you may not need a solicitor, but we do advise you take some legal advice.

Before starting this process it’s a good idea to write to the noise-maker saying that unless they cease by a certain date (at least 3 days notice of your intention) you will complain direct to the Magistrates’ Court.

Keep copies of all correspondence.

Aircraft Noise

These complaints are dealt with solely by the Civil Aviation Authority (

Scrapmen Collecting

If you are bothered by noise from scrapmen collecting in your area the council can, in certain circumstances, take action under the provisions of section 62 of The Control of Pollution Act 1974. This act enables local authorities to take action against individuals using a loudspeaker on the highway to advertise for business.

Commercial or Industrial Premises

These are dealt with in exactly the same manner as domestic noise complaints, except we will usually visit the premises initially to discuss the problem rather than writing to them, it is a defence for industrial and commercial premises to prove they are using best practicable means to minimise noise.

Bird Scarers

Although dealt with as a noise nuisance, it is slightly different as there is an NFU bird scarers code of practice (NFUonline). This in effect sets best practical means (BPM) for such activities. This means that we are only likely to take action if this code is not followed.

Burglar Alarms

Your burglar alarm should be set so that it sounds for no more than 20 minutes when triggered.

You should also make sure that false alarms are kept to a minimum by ensuring that the sensors are not easily triggered, by small animals for example. People will start to ignore your alarm and the possibility of your home being burgled if it goes off frequently.

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