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How to prevent a noise nuisance

Use this page to find out how you can reduce and prevent noise nuisances.

Noise nuisance guidance

Loud noises or vibrations can be annoying and can affect a person's physical or mental health.

Sometimes the noise itself is not the problem, but the time of day. For example, shouting or loud music is more likely to cause a disturbance at night.

How we decide if noise is a statutory nuisance

To be considered a statutory nuisance, it must be clear that the nuisance has a significant impact on people nearby.

We will assess the following factors to decide if a complaint is a statutory nuisance:

  • The times at which it happens
  • How often it happens 
  • How long it lasts 
  • The volume or intensity of the nuisance 
  • The location and characteristics of the area 

Select a topic below for guidance and practical advice about how to reduce nuisances and prevent them in various settings.


Music and TV

  • Keep the volume as low as possible, especially late at night
  • Set the bass control as low as possible to avoid causing problems with the “bass beat”
  • Position speakers well away from party walls and place on a carpet or rubber mat to reduce vibrations
  • Use headphones if possible


  • Don't carry out noisy DIY early in the morning or late at night
  • Warn neighbours if you think work will be particularly noisy
  • Don’t leave equipment running, turn it off after you have used it
  • Complete the work as quickly as possible

Cars and motorbikes

  • Avoid excessive revving of engines, particularly early in the morning and late at night
  • Avoid unnecessary acceleration and fierce braking
  • If you need to make repairs, carry out work during the day, and in a garage if possible
  • Don't carry out noisy operations at night or on Sundays

Domestic appliances

  • Try not to use vacuum cleaners, washing machines or other domestic appliances early in the morning or late at night
  • Position fridges, freezers and washing machines away from party walls, if possible
  • Stand washing machines or spin dryers on a solid floor, or place on a carpet or rubber mat to reduce vibration
  • Mow the lawn and use garden power tools in the day, not early in the morning or late at night

Musical instruments

  • If you play a musical instrument, don't practice early in the morning or late at night
  • If the instrument has an amplifier, turn down the volume or use headphones
  • If you play the drums, use practice pads

Parties and social events

  • Tell your neighbours before the event if it is likely to create noise that may be disturbing
  • Ensure that people arriving and leaving your property are as quiet as possible
  • Position any speakers away from neighbours’ properties and angle them into your room or garden so the sound is directed away from the neighbours
  • Reduce noise in the late evening to lessen the impact on your neighbours


  • Ensure your car alarm is in good repair and doesn't sound unexpectedly
  • Service and maintain intruder and fire alarms regularly
  • Provide a neighbour with contact details of a suitable key holder, in case your alarm misfires whilst you are away from your property

Businesses and commercial premises

Identify the various sources of noise from your commercial premises and consider how other people may be affected by it.

Examples of potential noise nuisances from businesses include noise from:

  • fans
  • generators
  • vehicles (such as forklifts or lorries)
  • machinery
  • live or recorded music
  • deliveries and patrons inside your business

When it is warm, having your premises doors and windows open will mean that more noise from inside your building will escape outside.


  • Ensure your car alarm is in good repair and doesn't sound unexpectedly
  • Service and maintain intruder and fire alarms regularly
  • Provide a neighbour with contact details of a suitable key holder, in case your alarm misfires whilst you are away from your property

Construction noise

Contractors should obtain a copy of British Standard 5228, a guide containing information and procedures for noise control on construction and open sites.

  • Give neighbours who may be affected by construction noise at least 48 hours’ notice
  • Keep working hours between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays.
  • Avoid working on Sundays or Bank Holidays
  • Select and properly maintain the quietest suitable equipment and machinery, and observe safe working practices
  • Make sure all sub-contractors are told to carry out their work in compliance with agreed guidelines on noise, dust and other matters
  • For long-term and complex projects, talk with the local community through structured meetings with residents
  • Avoid the need to park on the street by providing on-site parking, if possible
  • Inform our Environmental Protection Department if you expect the site activities to cause disturbance
  • Take all reasonable steps to prevent noise and dust from causing nuisance
  • Do not allow the use of radios on the site in circumstances where itcould cause disturbance

Pets and other animals


  • Try introducing some interesting activities into their routine, which should stop barking due to boredom
  • Don’t shout at them to stop barking as they may think that you are excited too, making them bark louder
  • Find out what is making them bark and then, if you can, prevent them from seeing, hearing or smelling it
  • If you’re going out, close the curtains and put the radio or television on quietly to keep the dog company
  • Don’t leave your dog alone for long periods in the garden or house, if this is where they do most of their barking
  • Try to keep your dog calm. If it barks when excited, don’t play with it at anti-social times like late at night
  • If the barking only occurs at night when they are shut away to sleep alone, consider letting them sleep where they can see and hear you
  • If your dog barks at the same time each day, like when the family are leaving for work or school, try to keep it busy with an activity or treat
  • If your dog is barking and you’re in a flat, a terraced or a semi-detached house, try to keep it away from any walls you share with your neighbours
  • Get a relative or friend to look after your dog when you go out, or take it with you
  • If your dog likes hiding, make it a den. If it’s frightened of other people or animals, shut doors or curtains
  • If your dog barks at the same time each day, like when the family are leaving for work or school, try to keep it busy with an activity or treat


  • If you are not going to breed your birds, you do not need to keep cockerels
  • During the breeding season, the number of cockerels can get out of hand. Be realistic and only keep the cockerel you require as replacement stock
  • Think carefully about the positioning of the poultry houses. Don't place them near to neighbours if possible
  • Provide the birds with a house where the light entering it has been eliminated as much as possible
  • Lock your birds up at night and let them out after 8am if possible, to reduce the risk of noise from cockerels crowing early in the morning

Noise from licensed premises

Location and structure of premises

Noise problems usually arise where licensed premises are close to residential properties or share joined structures.

To control noise from your premises, you should consider the following factors:

  • type of construction and building fabric of your premises
  • type, location, orientation and control of window and door openings
  • layout and orientation of premises in relation to the nearest residential properties
  • types of ventilation systems, air conditioning and vents
  • location and proposed use of any conservatories and outdoor seating or smoking areas
  • location and proposed use of any conservatories and outdoor seating or smoking areas


You can be held to account for noise problems arising from your patrons, both on your premises and in the vicinity of the licensed premises.

Using lobbied doorways can help, as they are under your direct control and can provide a calming transitional phase between the potentially noisy interior and the quieter exterior.

Requesting patrons to leave the premises quietly by placing posters close to exits can help to rowdy behaviour. Door staff can also assist in minimising disturbance from patrons as they leave the premises.

Machinery, fans and ventilation noise

  • Consider the location of the machinery so that the building structure provides as much screening as possible to local residential properties
  • Consider the hours of operation and turn off any equipment that you don't require
  • Use silencers, baffles, acoustic enclosures or additional acoustic screening
  • Hire a noise consultant to make a noise assessment and advise you on methods to reduce noise
  • If next to, above or below a residential property, use anti-vibration mounts
  • Conduct regular maintenance of machinery, at least once a year


  • Keep windows and doors closed while you are playing music
  • Provide air conditioning to prevent patrons opening the windows and doors
  • Provide acoustic glazing to windows, doors and exits
  • Increase the sound insulation properties of the walls and ceilings of the structure or building
  • Use an entrance lobby with acoustic self-closing doors and entrances and exit
  • Provide an automatic cut out device, which will cut out when the noise goes beyond a pre-set noise level inside the premises. The preset noise level should be set at a level that does not cause a noise nuisance to local residential properties
  • Use movable barriers or screens for windows facing residential properties

Beer gardens and smoking areas

  • Consider the exact location of any beer gardens or smoking areas to reduce noise disturbances
  • You may want to limit the hours that patrons can use these areas, particularly late at night

Deliveries and collections

  • Schedule deliveries or collections during the day, not early in the morning or late at night
  • If possible, position refuse or storage areas away from residential properties
  • Use careful handling methods and padded mats for items like beer barrels

Noise from events

  • Inform your neighbours of the event you are planning and take on board their views
  • Provide a telephone number for residents to report concerns directly to the event organiser
  • Point speakers away from nearby residential properties and angle them downwards, if possible
  • Do a sound-check before an event starts and set a volume level for the sound system that you won't exceed. You may need to set a quieter level if the event will go on after 11pm
  • Make sure the performers understand what volume level has been set and what time the performance needs to end
  • Monitor noise levels outside the venue boundary during the event
  • If your event is indoors, keep windows and doors closed as much as possible, to reduce noise from escaping
  • If your event is late at night, don't allow patrons to use external areas, such as beer gardens and smoking shelters
  • Put signs in easy-to-see places asking patrons to be quiet when leaving the venue