Sometimes noise problems can be resolved informally between neighbours, simply by politely explaining the problem trying to come to a compromise. However, this informal approach may not always be successful, and some people may not be prepared to speak directly to the person(s) making the noise.
There are a number of different sources of noise pollution:
If your home has an alarm it should be set to cut out after 20 minutes to avoid causing a noise nuisance. It is good practice to notify us of at least one keyholder who can attend your premises within 30 minutes and disable the alarm.
If the Council receives complaints that the alarm has not cut out after 20 minutes then officers will phone the keyholder and ask them to disable the alarm.
The keyholder could be a friend or relative or a contractor from an alarm or security company. If we do not have the details of a keyholder and the alarm misfires then we can take steps to disable the alarm.
If we need to break in to your home to disable the alarm then we will get a warrant from the courts that allows us to do so.
Officers will normally call in a locksmith and an alarms contractor to assist. The council will then recover the costs from the owner of the premises; this can be expensive!
If you wish your alarm to be placed on our keyholder database please complete the online form:
Car alarms should cut out after a short period of time, if they misfire, we recommend one minute. When the council receives complaints that an alarm has not cut out, and is causing a noise nuisance then officers will make attempts to contact the registered keeper of the vehicle.
If the registered keeper is not contactable then we will make arrangements to stop the nuisance. This means:
- we disable the alarm and secure the vehicle
- as a last resort we may need to tow the vehicle away
The owner of the vehicle will be charged for any works we need to do.
It is an offence to sound chimes to cause annoyance.
Do not sound chimes:
- for longer than 4 seconds at a time - use an automatic cut out device
- more often than once every 3 minutes
- when the vehicle is stationary
- except on approach to a selling point
- when in sight of another ice cream van which is trading
- when within 50 metres of schools (during school hours), hospitals, and places of worship (on Sundays and any other recognised days of worship)
- more often than once every two hours in the same street
- louder than 80 dB(A) at 7.5 metres (contact the Environmental Health team for advice)
- as loudly in quiet areas or narrow streets as elsewhere
It is an offence to sound chimes:
- before 12 noon and after 7pm
- at any time in a way which gives reasonable cause of annoyance
Noise from licensed premises is a common cause for complaint especially during warm weather. The majority of complaints about noise from licensed premises are a result of 'entertainment' of some sort.
This may be:
- noise from live or recorded amplified music
- television or video
- musical instruments
- public address systems.
Problems usually occur when the licensed premise is located within a residential area. Low frequency noise from music (the bass beat) can pass easily through a buildings structure.
Most complaints of this nature occur during the summer months when windows are left open for ventilation, and people use their gardens more.
At night time background noise levels fall and entertainment noise may be more noticeable and cause disturbance.
The Control of Pollution Act 1974 contains specific provisions for dealing with noise from construction sites. To help minimise disturbance from construction sites Telford & Wrekin Council has the power to restrict the times at which noisy works take place.
The locally adopted hours the Council normally applies to construction works are:
- Monday to Friday 7am to 7pm
- Saturdays 8am to 1pm
- Sundays and Public Holidays - no working
It should be noted that these hours relate to noisy works which are audible beyond the site boundary. It is not a 'blanket' prohibition of work at all times. Painting by hand, for example, could be undertaken outside these hours without having a detrimental impact on others. Similarly the above restrictions do not normally apply to small scale domestic do-it-yourself type activities.
There may, however be certain types of construction work which must be undertaken outside these hours. An example might be works to railways or busy roads which could not be undertaken during the day. In these instances we will endeavour to ensure that disturbance is kept to a minimum. This may be done by restricting noisy works to short periods and requiring that works are carried out in particular ways. Emergency works to gas or water supplies, for example, may also be carried out at short notice and this may be at night-time.
Industrial and Commercial premises can cause noise problems, particularly when located close to residential properties. Noise from construction activities can be loud and often disturbing. It is, however, recognised that certain activities will generate noise and that there are often no other reasonable alternatives.
Construction workers should follow a code of practice that details measures to help keep noise to a minimum. In Telford and Wrekin noisy construction activities should also be carried out during sociable hours.
It is important to note that construction work is usually only temporary, and it will eventually stop. However, in some cases the Council can impose requirements, including noise limits on the way which work is carried out on construction sites.
Examples of industrial premises:
- heavy industrial and manufacturing premises
- light industrial premises
- agricultural activities
Examples of industrial noise nuisance:
- constant intrusive droning of exhaust equipment, often at unsociable hours
- excessively loud machinery
- working outside of allowed operating hours
If Telford & Wrekin Council judges noise from fireworks to be a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, they can issue an abatement notice - however, as firework noise is short lived, in practice it can prove difficult to locate the source.
If excessive noise is emitted from premises (including gardens) between 11pm and 7am. Under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 local authorities or the police can apply to magistrates for an anti-social behaviour order where anyone has caused "harassment, alarm or distress". Disobeying an order carries a maximum penalty of a five year prison sentence.
Throwing or setting off fireworks in the street is an offence under the Explosives Act 1875. This is enforced by the police, and a fixed penalty notice of £80 applies. Police can enforce a fixed penalty notice of £80 to anyone under 18 possessing a firework in a public place and for breach of the 11pm curfew on letting off fireworks.
Noise from neighbours is a common source of disturbance. The most frequent complaints are:
- barking dogs
- loud music or TV
- banging doors
- DIY activities
Remember that no house or flat is totally soundproof, and gardens and garages can be particularly noisy. Everyone can expect some noise from the people who live around them. You could be disturbed for the following reasons:
- the neighbours are behaving unreasonably
- the neighbours are behaving normally, but sound insulation in your home is not good enough to cut out the sounds of normal everyday living
- the sensitivity of people to different types of noise varies - sounds that some enjoy may annoy others
First, approach your neighbour and explain politely that you are being troubled by noise. You may find this difficult, but often people are unaware that they are causing a problem. Most will be glad to do what they can to reduce noise. However, approach the matter carefully if you think your neighbour might react angrily to a complaint. In cases where you might feel threatened, or where previous personal approaches have not worked, please contact the Environmental team.
If the problem continues, start a diary recording dates, times and cause of the noise, and the effects it has on you. Write to your neighbour explaining the problem. Ask them to stop the noise nuisance, referring to any conversations you may have had and what, if anything, they agreed to do about it. Keep a record of any conversations you have or letters you write.
If your neighbours are tenants, discuss your problem with the landlord (if they are private tenants, you may need to find out who the landlord is). Most Conditions of Tenancy require that tenants do not cause nuisance to neighbours; a local authority or housing association should take action if a nuisance is being caused.