NOISY neighbours leaving you unable to sleep can be a real nuisance for people.
And because of the influx of home working due to the pandemic, increasingly noise can disrupt work as well.
Recently, the statistics for the number one cause of noise complaints in Reading last year has been revealed.
Out of a total of 764 noise complaints made, 455 were made because of neighbours causing a noise disturbance in a domestic setting.
Domestic noise is defined as sound coming from a home, which can include shouting, loud music or the use of noisy machinery such as lawn mowers.
The statistic comes from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from Reading resident Jamie Dixon, who asked the council to state how many noise complaints had been made throughout 2021 and the reasons for these complaints.
Complaints were also made because of the noise coming from industrial and commercial premises, pubs and clubs, outdoor events (such as Reading Festival) and barking dogs.
You can see the complaints made in 2021 in order of how many were lodged for each category below:
Noise nuisances can be reported to Reading Borough Council using ‘The Noise App’ which is free and works by recording decibels for up to 30 seconds.
For construction that could cause a disturbance, the council recommends work to be undertaken from 8am to 6pm on weekdays, 9pm to 1pm on Saturday, with no work at all on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
Noise complaints are covered in the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
The Act states that councils must investigate complaints to determine whether they present a statutory nuisance, which must either:
- unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises
- injure health or be likely to injure health
If an incident is judged to be a statutory nuisance, and if it is possible that the nuisance could occur again, a council must serve a noise abatement notice.
An abatement notice is effectively an order to stop the noise. They can be delayed for up to seven days while the council tries to get the person responsible to stop or restrict the noise.
If a person or business fails to comply with an abatement notice, they can be fined a lump sum or fined for each day they fail to comply with the notice.
Failure to comply can even lead to a prosecution at magistrates court.
Laws also define ‘noise at night’ which applies from 11pm to 7am, during which noise must be kept below a certain level.
If it isn’t, a council can issue will a warning notice explaining that there is a breach and requesting that the noise be reduced to the permitted level.
Furthermore, it is an offence to use loudspeakers for any purpose in the street at night between 9pm and 8am, unless in an emergency, as a method to address the public, or if the council gives consent.