Are you affected by noise?

The environmental protection team within environmental health will investigate complaints about noisy neighbours and also unreasonable noise from other sources.  Complaints about Council and Housing Association tenants will initially be referred to the appropriate landlord.

We are able to help with many types of noise complaint

Please report your complaint of noise to us. In appropriate cases, the investigating officer may advise the best way of resolving the situation may be to approach the person responsible for the alleged nuisance and see if the matter can be resolved informally on a face-to-face basis. The investigating officer will give advice how best to do this.

Alternatively we may suggest using mediation as a way forward.

It is also important to note that there some matters we are unable to help with.

We are unable to help with some types of noise complaints

We are generally unable to assist with complaints about noise caused by the following:

  • poor sound insulation
  • people in the street (including rowdy behaviour outside - which may be a Police matter)
  • building sites operating within reasonable times (generally 08.00 to 18.00)
  • normal farming activities
  • children playing, for example, in a garden, public space or park
  • speech (talking and shouting) unless unreasonably loud or at unreasonable times
  • day-to-day domestic noise (for example, lawn mowing, hedge trimming, washing machines, vacuuming)
  • traffic noise (including essential roadworks and maintenance) - see noise from roads on GOV.UK or contact Devon County Council (The Local Highways Authority)
  • railway noise (including essential maintenance) - also see Railway noise on GOV.UK
  • aircraft noise

and also noise affecting commercial premises unless prejudicial to health

How complaints are assessed

We have trained officers who use their professional experience and knowledge of the law to assess complaints. Complainants are asked to provide written information regarding the noise and how it is affecting them, usually in the form of diary sheets.  We will contact the person causing the problem and give advice on what they can do to stop it. In the worst cases we may need to witness the problem a number of times ourselves. Sometimes we can help a problem to be resolved quickly but in some cases this will take some time.

If a domestic nuisance exists, we will make a decision on whether it is due to unreasonable behaviour or poor sound insulation in the homes affected. We will give advice and assistance where possible, but if nothing is done and we are satisfied that a nuisance exists we will serve a formal notice.

Where a commercial business has been accused of causing a nuisance, we will have to consider whether the business has a defence that they have used the "best practicable means" to prevent the nuisance.

We will keep both parties updated during the investigation and endeavour to resolve matters as soon as possible.