What you can do if you are suffering a noise problem
Often a direct, informal approach to the person responsible for the noise is all that is needed to solve the problem. It is not unusual for them to be unaware that they are disturbing other people. However, it may be unwise to make your complaint in the heat of the moment when you are tired, frustrated or angry, the situation could get out of hand. It is better to wait until later when the matter can be discussed calmly.
Many other factors determine whether or not a noise is a statutory nuisance:
- The time of day
- The location e.g. urban/rural
- The duration of the noise
- The volume of the noise
- The character of the noise
- The frequency of the noise
Can the Council help?
The Council may be able to help if the noise is caused by one of the following:
Environmental Health Officers investigate noise complaints in accordance with the Pollution Control & Local Government (NI) Order 1978. Formal action can only be taken if the noise constitutes a statutory nuisance. If the noise you complain of is a one off or occasional event, it is not likely to be a statutory nuisance and therefore the Council is unlikely to be able to use formal action to resolve the matter.
If the noise nuisance persists and your informal request has failed to resolve the matter you can take your complaint to Craigavon Borough Council's Environmental Protection Team. Complaints can be made in writing, by telephone or by personal visit. The following information will be required so that the matter can be investigated.
- Your name, address and contact telephone number;
- The address of the source of the problem and (if known) the name of the person causing the noise
- Details concerning the type of noise, the pattern and history of the problem.
Making a Complaint
The investigation of a noise nuisance takes place in four stages.
What will the Council do?
Initially complaints are logged and passed to an Environmental Protection Team Officer who may contact you for further information. The subject of the complaint will be contacted and advised of the complaint (your name and address will not be disclosed at this time). Appropriate advice will be given and an attempt made to resolve the matter informally. In many cases this will be sufficient.
The complainant is required to complete noise complaint record forms (link below) and return after two weeks or other appropriate period depending on the nature and the complaint. You will be asked to confirm your willingness to provide a witness statement and give evidence in Court. It is essential that the noise complaint record form is accurate with regard to the dates and times and duration of the noise.
The alleged perpetrator of the noise nuisance will be contacted to be advised of the complaint. At this stage your details will be treated as confidential.
Up to three visits will then be made in an attempt to witness the noise. Alternatively monitoring equipment may be left at your premises, or you may be put on the "out-of hours" call-out list enabling you to request an Officer to attend your premises outside of normal office hours to witness the alleged nuisance.
(Log sheets should be kept by you until such times that the problem is resolved either by the Council or by your own actions).
If the officer is satisfied of the existence of a statutory nuisance during the investigation the complaint will move onto stage 3. At this stage you may be required to produce a witness statement and should be prepared to give evidence in Court. An Abatement Notice will usually be served on completion of this stage of the investigation. You should be aware that the person served with the notice has a right of appeal to the courts.
It is an offence not to comply with an Abatement Notice. If conditions on the notice are broken you should inform the investigating officer of any possible breaches, and maintain the noise complaint record forms. If further complaints are received the recipient of the notice shall be advised of their obligations with regard to the notice. Further complaints will be investigated and monitored where practicable, with a view to enforcing the requirements of the notice. Once an offence has been witnessed by an Authorised Officer the offender may be prosecuted at the Magistrates Court.
The service in Craigavon is not a 24 hours 7 days a week response service. For noise concerns outside of office hours, a range of approaches are deployed to investigate nuisances, including programmed inspections, the use of monitoring equipment, and on-call officers being available for specific circumstances and events.
For further information, please contact the Environmental Protection Team on 028 38 312 448.
If the Council is unable to help you with your problem Civil Action can be taken under common law or you could take your complaint direct to the Magistrates Court (Article 38 The Pollution Control & Local Government (NI) Order 1978). If you are considering taking your own action you are advised to contact a solicitor.
Alternatively, the complainant may seek to resolve the complaint through mediation - www.mediationnorthernireland.org
Additional sources of information can be found on the following internet sites
Please Note: CBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.