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Construction sites


Construction and demolition sites may give rise to complaints such as smoke from bonfires, piling, noise and dust especially during periods of hot dry weather and where existing residential properties are close to the site.

It is almost impossible for such sites to operate without noise and dust leaving the site boundary.

The site operator has a duty therefore to minimise noise and dust by introducing appropriate control measures where it is practical and reasonable to do so.  

Emergency construction work

Certain types of work must be carried out at unsociable hours due to the repair being an emergency, or for safety reasons. For example:

  • repairs to gas, electric or water mains
  • repairs to major road and rail networks

What can we do

We can control noise from construction and demolition sites by using powers available to us under the Control of Pollution Act 1974.

Contractors should preferably apply for a prior consent rather than face the prospect of a notice being served by us after they have commenced work.

We can serve a notice imposing requirements as to how construction works should be carried out so as to minimise noise and disturbance. Generally, the acceptable hours for noisy work are Monday to Friday 8.00am-6.00pm, Saturdays 8.30am-1.00pm. No work to be carried out on Sundays.

What can you do 

Contractors planning to undertake construction and demolition work can make an application for a prior consent to establish what noise controls will be imposed on a contract. 

Site operators should inform us prior to any emergency work being carried out at unsociable hours if they are to work outside expected hours, and be able to demonstrate that:

  • the works can not be undertaken at any other time
  • the method of operation
  • the plant or equipment used would ensure that the noise impact is kept to a minimum

The site operator is expected to minimise the impact of nuisance from such activities to residents who live close to the site. They will be expected to apply the appropriate control measures where applicable. For example:

  • ensuring all plant and equipment has all the appropriate noise control devices fitted as recommended by the manufacturer
  • methods of dust suppression appropriate to the dust episode
  • highways surrounding the site are constantly swept
  • reasonable working hours
  • no bonfires    

If you are affected by any of the above activities and wish to complain please contact us.

Contact us
Customer Services
03000 26 0000
Our address is:
  • Durham County Council
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UQ
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