We can investigate and deal with some types of noise, which meets the definition for statutory nuisance.

Noise nuisance can occur from many sources but must affect you within a living space of your home and interfere with your everyday life.

Noises that are not considered a nuisance

We cannot investigate the following sources of noise as they do not constitute an actionable statutory nuisance in law:

  • ‘one off’ party
  • noise from children playing (either inside, or in gardens, or in public space such as the street or a play park)
  • people hanging around or congregating in the street
  • neighbours talking (either inside a property or in a garden)
  • noise from Building sites / Construction (generally between hours 7am-7pm Mon-Fri; Saturdays 8am-1pm)
  • impact sound from footsteps, doors closing and switches operating in adjacent premises or communal areas in residential blocks
  • normal household noise
  • poor sound insulation in buildings
  • garden equipment operating (e.g. lawn movers, leaf blowers, shredders)
  • traffic on the road
  • air traffic
  • fireworks
  • engine noise from vehicles starting or warming up

Before you make a complaint

We encourage you to speak to your neighbour first when problems arise.

More often than not, the person or business is not aware that they are creating a problem for others.

We appreciate that this is not always possible or you may have tried but the problem has continued. If you can’t resolve the matter amicably, we might be able to help.

Making a formal complaint

If you still want to make a complaint you should come back to us and we will explain the next steps.

Start now

What we will do next

Ask you to keep a record of the noise

We will normally send you a log sheet to record details of the noise with dates and times of when it affects you. This helps us to investigate your complaint. You must return the log sheet within a defined period or we will not proceed any further.

Notify the person or organisation

We will usually write to the person or organisation you are complaining about to tell them a complaint has been made and may make a visit at this stage. We will not say who has made the complaint but it is often obvious.

Often a complainant wants to remain anonymous. The law requires us to assess the impact of noise on you in your own home. If we cannot do this, we are unlikely to be able to proceed. Your details will remain confidential.

Visits to witness the noise

If the noise continues after they have received the letter, and you have returned log sheets that look likely to amount to a nuisance, we will make reasonable attempts to witness the noise to gather evidence to determine whether formal enforcement action is appropriate.

If we cannot find evidence of a legal nuisance, we will advise on the options available to you.

Giving evidence in court

If a statutory nuisance is determined the next steps (court proceedings where you will need to give evidence) will be explained to you by one of our officers.

Contact us

If you have any questions, email envhealth@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk.

Please quote the case reference number from your original correspondence.