Making a noise complaint

Noise is an inevitable part of everyday life, however it is possible for certain types of noise to become a statutory nuisance. For noise to be a statutory nuisance it has to much more than just something that is annoying. It has to be regarded as having an unreasonable effect on a person's enjoyment of their property. 

Noisy neighbours, noise from industry or construction sites and barking dogs are just some of the noise complaints we investigate.

We don't investigate noise due to domestic violence, drunk & disorderly individuals or public order offences.  These are Police matters and can be reported to the South Yorkshire Police helpline on:

101 - For general enquiries or to report a crime that is no longer happening
18001 101 (text phone) - If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired
07786 220 022 (SMS) - If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired

Before you make a complaint to us

Many noise problems, particularly those involving neighbours, can be resolved informally, for example, by explaining to your neighbours the difficulties they are causing. Approach your neighbour and explain politely that you are being troubled by noise. You may find this difficult, but often people are unaware that they are causing a problem. Most will be glad to do what they can to reduce noise.

If you live in a Housing Association or rented property, it is worth discussing your problem with your landlord. They may be able to take action under the terms of their tenancy agreement. 

Making a noise complaint

Your complaint must include:

  • Your name and address and (where possible) a daytime phone number.
  • The address (or site) where the noise is coming from and the type of noise. (such as barking dogs, loud music).
  • When and for how long the noise occurs (it will help if you have made a written record of the times and dates when the problem has occurred).
  • The way the noise affects you (does it stop you from sleeping?).
  • Anything you have done to try and deal with the problem (such as speaking to the person making the noise). 

If we decide to take legal action in respect of your complaint we may ask you to provide a statement and you may be required to appear in court as a witness. We would discuss this with you at the time and take your wishes into account.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Do I have to give my name and address?
A. Yes, the details of your address are essential. In order to assess whether the noise is likely to constitute a statutory nuisance, the Officer must assess how the noise is affecting someone's enjoyment of their home.

Q. Will my details be revealed to the person causing the disturbance?
A. Complainants details are confidential. However, you may be required to appear in Court as a witness. This would be discussed with you fully at the time and your wishes taken into account.

Q. Is it true that as long as I only play my stereo in the daytime I cannot be causing a nuisance?
A. No, not necessarily. The assessment of nuisance is dependent upon several factors; the time of day when the noise occurs is only one of these. Other factors include the volume, frequency, duration and character of the noise together with an assessment of how reasonable the activity causing it is, given the particular circumstances of the case.

Q. Can I take my own action, to resolve the situation?
A. Yes, Officers can advise you how to go about collating evidence to take your own legal action, under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. However, we would also recommend that you seek advice from a Solicitor.

Q. Are there any alternatives on legal action?
A. Yes, Noise disputes are often resolved informally. Legal action should be a last resort. It is unpleasant and can inevitably further sour the relationship between you and your neighbour. It is very important that you do your best to resolve any problem in a friendly way.