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Durham County Council

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Noise pollution


The Environmental Protection Act gives local authorities legal powers to deal with noise complaints that are established as a statutory nuisance. Officers of the Environmental Protection Team investigate noise complaints of the type listed below. If the noise is causing a statutory nuisance, we will endeavour to resolve the matter informally. However, if this approach fails, we have the legal powers to serve an abatement notice requiring the nuisance to stop.

There are a number of different noise sources that can cause a statutory noise nuisance for example:

  • barking dogs
  • amplified music
  • industrial and commercial premises
  • construction and demolition sites 
  • public entertainment from licensed premises

There are certain types of noise that are not covered by the above legislation and we have no legal powers to act, including  noise from aircraft, trains and road traffic. Some useful links have been provided below offering more information.

What can we do

We will investigate the complaint and attempt to resolve the complaint informally.  However where this approach fails we can serve a notice on the offending party requiring them to abate the nuisance. Failure to comply with an Abatement Notice is an offence and legal proceedings may result   In the case of licensed premises we can liaise with the Licensing Enforcement Team to ensure all licence conditions are being adhered to.

What can you do

To assist the investigation, you will be issued with log/diary sheets so that you can provide us with the following information:

  • the date and time the noise occurs 
  • a description of the noise
  • a description of how the noise affects your quality of life  

In the event an abatement notice is served on the person(s) causing the nuisance and the notice is appealed, you may be required to appear at court and give evidence