Noise Nuisance

Noise disturbance can arise from a wide range of sources including barking dogs, noisy neighbours, entertainment noise, building work and commercial activity, making life a misery.

What to do if you are bothered by noise

If you are concerned about noise coming from a neighbours home or a local business often the best way to deal with the problem is to go to the source directly, neighbours may not be aware that they are causing a problem and such an informal approach may be better in the long term. The Council has the following useful booklets on noise which can be downloaded.

Noise disturbances (English)
Noise disturbances(Polish)
Noise disturbances(Russian)
Noise disturbances(Portugese)
Constant dog barking can be avoided (English)

However if such action is not possible or fails then you can contact the Environmental Health Department by phone: 02830313100 or via e-mail to: ehealth@nmandd.org. If your complaint relates to noise in the street then you should contact the PSNI.

How do we investigate noise nuisance complaints?

We discuss the problem with the complainant and may ask them to complete a noise record sheet, in the form of a diary, for a period of time. This helps us to identify how long the noise goes on for and what effect it has on the complainant’s enjoyment of their home life.

We try to resolve noise problems informally where possible and initially we will contact the person causing the noise to make them aware that complaints have been made to us.

If the noise persists after the individual has been advised/warned, we will gather evidence to establish if the noise complained about is what is termed a ‘statutory noise nuisance’. During normal office hours we can visit and personally witness the noise. Out-of-hours we may visit or install sensitive noise monitoring equipment, to allow you to record the offending noise.

If the Noise is a statutory noise nuisance - what happens next?

If there is evidence that the noise is a statutory nuisance we are required to take action under The Pollution Control and Local Government (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 and this would normally mean serving a Noise Abatement Notice on the person(s) causing the noise nuisance. The notice would require the statutory nuisance to be stopped and/or prevented from occurring again. If someone is found guilty of failing to comply with an abatement notice they can be fined up to a maximum of £5,000.

What noise complaints do the council receive?

We receive around 350 noise complaints each year. To review annual reports providing an analysis of noise complaints received by councils in Northern Ireland click here.

How well are we investigating complaints?

In dealing with complaints, council staff endeavour to seek co-operation and agreement to obtain a solution. Hence an informal approach is generally adopted initially to deal with noise complaints. Where this fails, and evidence of a noise nuisance exists then more formal action is instigated.

In the table below a summary is provided of the number of complaints received by this Council between 2005 and 2008, the time it has taken to resolve such complaints and the level of enforcement activity.

Year 1/4/2005-31/3/2006 1/4/2006 - 31/3/2007 1/4/2007 - 31/3/2008
Number resolved within 1 month (%)

96 (34.4%)

107 (31.56%) 121 (40.73%)
Number resolved within 3 months 107(75.27%) 269 (79.35%) 243 (81.13%)
Number resolved within 6 months 243 (87.46%) 326 (96.17%) 280 (94.04%)
Number resolved within 9 months 271 (97.49%) 332 (97.94%) 284 (95.36%)
Number resolved within 12 months 272 (98.21%) 332 (97.94%) 287 (96.36%)
Number resolved after 12 months 277 (100%) 339 (100%) 298 (100%)
Total number of complaints 277 339 298
Article 38 Notices served 1 7 11
Prosecutions 0 0 4