Noise can be defined as "unwanted sound" and whether it is a nuisance depends on how much it effects the enjoyment of anyone living nearby. Excessive noise can seriously affect the quality of life and health.
There is no specific decibel level that constitutes a Statutory Nuisance. It is the impact on the normal enjoyment that is more relevant.
Types of possible noise nuisances
Loud music for long periods of time
DIY work e.g. drilling, hammering, car repairs
Dogs barking excessively
House or car alarms sounding for long periods
Noise from commercial/industrial premises
Parties with excessive noise
Car stereos, engines revving and car horns
Types of noise we have no powers to deal with
Young children playing
Noise associated with normal reasonable household behaviour
Noise caused by poor sound insulation (if the person/s is behaving reasonably)
Emergency road works at night carried out by utility companies
Keeping the Noise Down
It is important to consider your neighbours and try to minimise the noise you are making.
Be aware of your neighbours when you are doing something noisy or let them know beforehand (especially if holding a party)
Keep the stereo volume down, especially after 11pm, or use headphones
Control the bass level; low frequencies are transmitted further and through structures
Remember if you live in a flat or maisonette, that noise and vibration travel easily through walls and floors
Realise that your pleasure should not lead to your neighbours distress
Pull TVs and speakers away from walls and up off floors
Keep musical instrument practices short and at respectable times
Carry out noisy DIY before 8.00am or after 9pm and be mindful of neighbours even between these hours
If possible avoid DIY on Sundays
Play music at a level which annoys your neighbours
Have frequent noisy parties in your home
Leave dogs alone for long periods
Sound car horns, slam doors and rev engines at night - you might wake someone up
Don't use vacuum cleaners or washing machines late at night.
How we investigate
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Sedgemoor District Council is responsible for monitoring and investigating claims of noise nuisance within the area.
If you believe someone is causing a noise nuisance, we will ask you for the address of the premises and write to the person(s) you believe are responsible and inform them there has been a complaint. Please note, we do not disclose details of who has complained.
We will also send you noise record sheets and ask you to fill these in with as much information as possible, particularly the dates and times of the noise.
We may install recording equipment into your home to record the alleged nuisance to help us determine if it is a statutory nuisance. We may also wish to witness the noise.
Noise caused by frequently or continuously sounding vehicle or intruder alarms is a common cause of complaint. They can cause considerable distress and annoyance to neighbours particularly if they sound regularly and at night when people are trying to sleep.