Permitted hours and nuisance

building site

Construction and building sites can cause problems to local residents. We aim to work with residents and developers to ensure that the impact is minimised and controlled where possible.

Recommended hours of work will normally be:

  • Monday to Friday: 7.30am to 6pm
  • Saturday: 8am to 1pm
  • Sunday and bank holidays: no working

If a company wishes to work outside of these hours (on a construction site) they will normally be required to submit an application for prior consent.


Noise from construction sites is controlled by the Control of Pollution Act (COPA) 1974. Construction companies and contractors are required to take all reasonable steps to control noise and to demonstrate that they are applying 'Best Practicable Means'.


Dust from construction sites is controlled by the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) and can often be minimised by:

  • carefully siting transport routes
  • providing hard-surfaced roadways
  • imposing speed limits on site
  • damping stockpiles of materials and roadways with water
  • keeping roadways clear
  • adjusting working methods e.g to minimise demolition or crushing dust
  • storing fine material under cover

It is important to note that the environmental legislation controlling dust is for the protection of human health and environment in general. If dust only affects your property or possessions, environmental health will not be able to help.


It is an offence under Section II of the Clean Air Act 1993 to burn anything in industrial or trade premises which is likely to cause dark smoke. A person found guilty under this section can be liable to a fine on summary conviction not exceeding £20,000.

In addition, under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Part III, nuisance legislation applies where a nuisance is defined as something which unreasonably interferes with someone else's enjoyment of their home or garden. If we confirm that a nuisance does exist, we are able to serve a legal document called an Abatement Notice on the person responsible requiring that the nuisance is stopped. If the Abatement Notice is ignored, then any further nuisance will be an offence which, upon conviction in the magistrates court, could result in fines of up to £20,000 and £2,000 for each day the offence continues.

The Environment Agency also have powers to deal with the burning of waste on trade premises. Under Part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, you have a duty of care concerning the disposal of trade waste. Section 33 of this act states that a person shall not dispose of waste in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health. The maximum penalty under this section is £20,000. Any burning of waste is therefore an offence under this legislation.  To make a complaint to the Environment Agency, please call the incident hotline on 0800 807060.

Exemptions from the Environment Agency powers relate to the burning of wood, bark and plant material at the site of production provided fires do not cause persistent problems to neighbours. These fires still have to be registered with the Environment Agency and it is an offence not to do so. Action can still be taken by the council under the Clean Air Act or Nuisance Legislation.

Making a complaint

If you are bothered by noise or dust which originates from a construction site please contact a member of environmental health at or by calling 01242 264135.