Commercial noise

Sometimes people at work or at home are disturbed by noise or odour that originates from commercial or industrial premises. Examples are extraction flues, machinery noise, fan noises, vehicle movements, alarms and radios. Where these occur continuously or loudly, or when they are new noises, they can be very annoying.

If you are disturbed by such a noise, and are able to identify the source, try visiting the premises and speaking to the manager. In many cases, they are not aware that there is a problem and are happy to try and resolve it. If you are unable to do this, or it is not successful, you can ask us to investigate.

You will be asked to keep a record of the noise for 2-3 weeks and return the completed log sheets so that an officer can assess them. We will arrange to visit the commercial premises and try to identify the cause of the problem. Sometimes resolving the problem is simple (for example, persuading the manager to ban radios), but sometimes it is more difficult particularly where the noise is associated with the process itself. In these situations officers may take noise measurements at your property. We will give an opinion on how reasonable, or not, the noise is. We have to take into account that in mixed residential and commercial areas a certain amount of noise should be expected.

If we consider the noise or odour unreasonable, we will try to find a solution with an appropriate timescale, and try to maintain the cooperation of the management. Where progress is slow or cooperation is not achieved, we will serve and Abatement Notice which can include our proposed resolutions and timescales. The recipient of the notice has the right to appeal against its requirements which may delay the outcome.

Once the Abatement Notice has been served, any further occurrences of nuisance could result in the matter being referred to the legal team to pursue prosecution. The maximum fine upon summary conviction in a Magistrate's Court is currently up to £20,000.

Noise from licensed premises is a common cause of complaint to local authorities by neighbouring occupiers, especially during the warmer weather. Environmental health has a duty to investigate complaints and take action if noise is considered to be a statutory noise nuisance.

Where a complaint of noise is received regarding licensed premises, we will contact those responsible and discussions will take place. At this stage, if the problem is resolved, there will be no need for further investigations. However, if the complaint continues and remains justified, formal action can be taken.