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What we can't do

We cannot take enforcement action on noise based solely on complaints. We have to independently establish, by staff witnessing the noise or other methods, that the problem noise is a legal nuisance.

We cannot treat all noise as being a nuisance. The law does not give an absolute right to peace and quiet. For a noise to be a legal nuisance it must have a material harmful impact on the normal, reasonable use of premises. It is not enough that the noise merely irritates someone or if the person is unusually sensitive for the noise to be a legal nuisance. The Council cannot ask the courts to evict the occupiers for causing noise nuisance.

In some cases, despite all efforts, the Council will not be able to establish that the noise causing the problem is a nuisance. In these cases, individuals can take their own action for noise nuisance via the Magistrates Court under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Read 'Taking your own action' for more information.

The Law Relating to Statutory Nuisance