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Noise complaints

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021

2. Report a noise issue

Things to know before you start

We will not disclose your details during an investigation. You should however be aware that:

  1. Investigating noise complaints can be a lengthy process. You will need to keep an ongoing, accurate record of disturbances on our log sheets for the duration of our investigation and may need to allow us to come into your property to try to witness the noise or install or recorder. If you do not complete and return these as requested as we won’t be able to pursue your complaint.
  2. We will have to write to the person/people believed to be responsible for making the noise (based on the information you provide) upon receiving log sheets that show a potentially actionable nuisance. If you are not happy for us to do this then we will not be able to pursue your complaint.
  3. Due to the nature of noise complaints, it is often not difficult for those making the noise to assume whom the complaint(s) might have come from. You may therefore be approached after we have written to them and should be aware of this possibility before making a complaint.
  4. If the noise is very bad and leads to us taking court action, your details and signed diary sheets will need to be disclosed to the court and the defendant at that time.

If you are okay with all of this, then please follow the steps below which set out how we will ordinarily investigate noise complaints:

Step One

We would always encourage you to politely approach the people making the noise first, so long as you feel safe doing so. This is because people making noise often don’t realise the affect it has on others.

Sometime a ‘quiet informal word’ does the trick as most people don’t want to upset their neighbours. Taking this action first can also avoid making situations worse, whilst we can deal with some noise problems, an approach from us ‘out of the blue’ can cause resentment and make the issue harder to sort out.

Step Two

If the noise continues, or you don’t feel comfortable talking with the people making the noise, and you would like us to consider your complaint then you'll need to let us know by emailing us at ep@gravesham.gov.uk with the following information:

  • Your name, address, email address and contact phone number(s)
  • The address or, where the noise is not coming from an address, the specific location that the noise is coming from
  • Details of the noise nuisance (what it is, when it occurs, how long it lasts, who it affects and how it affects them, how long it has been a problem for, how loud/severe it is, whether it appears to be malicious or not)

We won’t be able to pursue your complaint if you can’t provide all of this information.

Once we receive the required information, we’ll send you a complaint package including log sheets to keep an accurate record of the disturbances on. This will allow an initial assessment of your complaint to be made. Please note that in returning completed log sheets to us, you are giving your consent for us to write to the person/people believe to be responsible for making the noise.

Step Three

If your log sheets show a potentially actionable nuisance then we will write to the person/people believed to be responsible for making the noise (based on the information you provide) to let them know about the complaint. We need to do this to make them aware of the issue and give them a chance to resolve it informally, but we will not disclose your details to them.

We will also write to you to confirm what we have done and send you more log sheets to complete and return if problems persist.

If your log sheets do not show a potentially actionable nuisance then we will write to you to let you know. In these circumstances it may be possible for you to take private nuisance action.

Step Four

Only applicable if log sheets are sent out and returned following Step Three.

If your log sheets still show a potentially actionable nuisance and the noise continues then we will carry out monitoring to assess whether the noise is causing a statutory nuisance using recording equipment and/or in person, depending on the situation.

If it is a statutory nuisance then a formal abatement notice will be served which will require the person to stop. If the nuisance continues and an officer can obtain sufficient evidence of this then we can seize the equipment making the noise and take the case for prosecution at a Magistrates Court.

If the nuisance is not a statutory nuisance, but does require formal intervention from us, we will consider the use of other powers including issuing a Community Protection Warning/Notice which can result in the issue of a fixed penalty notice of up to £100, prosecution and/or seizure of property. Formal action may also be taken at an earlier stage of an investigation at our discretion should the need arise.

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