Noise

If a statutory nuisance does not exist

Our case closes

If you make a complaint about noise and there is not enough evidence to prove a statutory nuisance or the noise is not a nuisance in law, we will let you know and our investigation will be closed.

You can take action

However, Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act allows you to take your own action by complaining directly to the magistrates court. You would have to produce evidence to satisfy the court that the noise problem amounts to a nuisance.

If you decide to take this action you must give the person responsible for the noise at least three days written notice of your intention to complain to the court and the nature of your complaint. This letter can be delivered by post or by hand and you should keep a copy for your records. We can provide you with an example letter.

Court proceedings

If the letter does not help to stop the problem - you could continue with court proceedings. You need to contact the court and make a complaint under section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The full procedure will be explained by the court and you are likely to be asked to demonstrate that you have evidence of the problem.

The court will then make a decision as to whether a summons should be issued and you may be asked to serve this on the person responsible for the noise. The summons will state the date and time for the hearing.

At the hearing, both sides will be able to give evidence, call witnesses and have legal representation. If the court decides that you are suffering a noise nuisance it will make an order which will require the person to stop causing the noise and state any measures or work that will have to be carried out to achieve this. The order may also prohibit the recurrence of the noise.

The person responsible may also be fined at this point. You would usually be awarded your costs in bringing the case. If your neighbour then breached the court order and you are able to provide evidence demonstrating this he or she will be found guilty of an offence and may be fined. Alternatively, if the case is not proven and is dismissed, you will have to pay your costs and you may also have to pay the costs of your neighbour.

Representation

It is not necessary to employ a solicitor, provided you feel confident to explain the situation to the magistrates bench yourself. You should be aware that your neighbour may have legal representation even if you do not. If you feel unsure of your ability to act yourself you can approach the Citizens Advice Bureau and discuss it with them.

Mediation as an alternative

As an alternative to proceedings in court you may wish to explore the possibility of mediation. If you are a Council housing tenant we provide a free mediation service. If you are a housing association tenant you should contact your estate managers.