Noise and nuisance


This cross-cutting theme is now closed for comments.

You can read comments made since the start of the Red Tape Challenge in April 2011 below.

You can also still submit comments to the Red Tape Challenge inbox by clicking here.

These regulations aim to limit the impacts from noise, other nuisances such as litter and dog fouling; and reduce the effects of noise from roads, railways and airports. In some cases the regulations include provisions to issue fixed penalty notices, and require authorities to conduct reasonable investigations.

You can find all 25 regulations that relate to noise and nuisance below to the left.

Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006

SI transposing the EU Environmental Noise Directive into English Regulation

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Environmental Noise (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2008

Amendment of Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Environmental Noise (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2009

Amendment of Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Environmental Noise (England) (Amendment) Regulations  2010

Amendment of Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

The Street Litter Control Notices (England)(Amendment) Order 2007

Amends legislation to allow litter control notices to be served on premises used wholly or partly for the sale of food or drink for consumption on the premises

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Clean Neighbourhoods & Environment Act 2005 (Commencement No4) (England) Order 2007

Commencement Order for parent Act

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (Commencement No 2, Transitional Provisions and Savings) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Order 2006

Commencement Order for parent Act

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (Commencement No 2, Transitional Provisions and Savings) (England and Wales) Order 2005

Commencement Order for parent Act

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (Commencement No 3) (England) Order 2006

Commencement Order for parent Act

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (Commencement No 4) Order 2006

Commencement Order for parent Act

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (Commencement No.1 Transitional and Savings Provisions) (England) Order 2006

Commencement Order for parent Act

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (Commencement No.2) (England) Order 2006

Commencement Order for parent Act

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Environmental Offences (Use of Fixed Penalty Receipts) Regulations 2006

Sets out circumstances when functions of an authority are “qualifying functions” for the purposes of which it may use its fixed penalty receipts – REVOKED BY SUBSEQUENT REGULATION

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

The Dog Fouling (Fixed Penalty) (England) Order 2002

Set rate for level of fixed penalty fine for dog fouling – REVOKED BY SUBSEQUENT REGULATION

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

The Litter (Fixed Penalty) (England) Order 2002

Set rate for level of fixed penalty fine for littering – REVOKED BY SUBSEQUENT REGULATION

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

The Litter (Fixed Penalty Notices) Order 1991 and the Dog Fouling (Fixed Penalties) Order 1996 (Revocation) (England) Order 2005

Revokes Orders prescribing the form of the fixed penalty notices

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Dog Control Orders (Prescribed Offences and Penalties, etc) Regulations 2006

Provides offences and penalties for any dog control orders made under parent Act.

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Environmental Offences (Fixed Penalties)(Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2006

Sets rates for level of fixed penalty fines for a range of offences including littering

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Environmental Offences (Use of Fixed Penalty Receipts) Regulations 2007

Sets out circumstances when functions of an authority are “qualifying functions” for the purposes of which it may use its fixed penalty receipts

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Dog Control (Procedures) Regulations 2006

Explains the procedure under which dog control orders must be made.

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Controls on Dogs (Non-application to Designated Land) Order 2009

This order designates land that dog control orders cannot be made; and revokes and replaces the Controls of Dogs (Non-application of Designated Land) Order 2006.

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Environmental Noise (Identification of Noise Sources) (England) Regulations 2007

These Regulations identify the Noise Sources that needed to be mapped for the First Round of Mapping.

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Environmental Protection Act 1990 sections 79 and 80

Place a duty on local authorities to take reasonable steps to investigates complaints regarding potential nuisances (noise, dust, odours etc.) and issue an abatement notice when they are satisfied that a nuisance exists or likely to occur or recur.

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 sections 101 and 102

Add insects and artificial light (with some exceptions) to the list of potential sources of nuisance (as listed in Environment Protection Act 1990)

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Control of Pollution Act 1974 sections 63 to 67

Giver local authorities the power to, and set out how to, implement Noise Abatement Zones in which noise is closely controlled.

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Tell us what you think should happen to these regulations and why, being specific where possible:

For example parts of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 are largely unused, perhaps you think they can be scrapped.

Comment Tags:
noise | railway | Red Tape | Health | enforcement

121 responses to Noise and nuisance

  • J Smith said on May 28, 2011 at 8:22 am

    I would think that noise is no different to any other legal/technical area. The law and technical standards are bound to be complicated. They should be simplified where possible, but dumping the standards will lead to chaos.

    I think the most important thing is that any change is good change. Just mindlessly sweeping away standards because the public (who I’m sure don’t know the standards) think that they are not worth having, is foolish. I would guess that if anything, the public would like more control, not less. They would like more power to stop the party going on above their flat at 3am.

    I would say we have all been annoyed by individuals and companies being selfish and polluting, and would all like to be able to stop this.

    I don’t know how tight the regulations are on whether or not practitioners are qualified, but I would think tightening this up would also help.

  • John Murray said on May 27, 2011 at 7:30 am

    Excessive noise should be restricted by legislation as a necessary part of our society as there are some individuals and groups who are thoughtless and disregard the needs of others. The need is for regulations to become stricter. It would be disastrous for them to be removed.

  • Bill Berry said on May 25, 2011 at 8:42 am

    I am writing about any and all pieces oflegislation. As someone who has the duty to enforce a whole raft of Regulations, I would find it much easier to know what the current regulations (as amended) say, if any amendment completely revoked the regulations being amended, and brought in a complete new set of regulations, even where only one small part of one of the regulations were amended. It would also help businesses to keep up to date more easily, without having to pay out vast sums of money on annual subscriptions to updating services.

  • Rosemary Marshall said on May 24, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Enhace it, enhance it, enhance it – there is far too much noise in this country.

  • Rosalind Riley said on May 18, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Life is unbearably noisy. Keep and enforce the legislation please.

  • B Smith said on May 18, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Regulations to restrict excessive noise are a necessary part of our society as there are some individuals and groups who are irresponsible and thoughtless. This is why we have the legislation that is currently in place. The general tendency is for many people to be more concerned about noise and for others to be more thoughtless so it is even more necessary now than it was in the past. The need it therefore for regulations to become stricter. It would be disastrous for them to be removed.

  • Noah Deere said on May 18, 2011 at 11:50 am

    I think the Government’s computer clock is still on GMT. They can’t even be bothered to check that, just roll up their sleeves and wade in without thinking.

  • Ian Sandford said on May 18, 2011 at 11:47 am

    This legislation is vital to protect those who suffer with littered and dog-fouled streets and unsocialble neighbours. What’s needed is not scrapping this legislation but ensuring it is enforced. Last year the Police would not attend an illegal party – basically a nightclub in an un-soundproofed house in Tottenham; this year another street in Haringey was illegally closed to hold an ilegal party; again no police. Still, this government is effectively abolishing the police as well.

  • Richard Vivian said on May 18, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Legislation surrounding noise and nuisance has evolved over hundreds of years and continues to adapt as society changes. It may seem complex to the non-specialist but that is because it is a complex subject. Whilst simplifying noise law may give the man in the street a better understanding, there is a significant risk that a one size fits all approach to legislation would not adequately address the vast array of noise and nuisance issues that exist in our society.

    Ultimately legislation does already exist to promote reasonable living conditions for the residents of England. In most cases there has to be a balance between the sensitivity of the resident and the freedoms of the noise maker to go about their business, and most judgements result in finding that balance.

    However although statute law exists, it is often the implementation of the principles of that law in the first stages of complaint that seem to cause the greatest frustration to those affected: An earlier post in this debate mentions music blaring out from a pub at 2.30am. If that music really is preventing residents of normal sensitivity from resting or sleeping then there are a number of ways it could be addressed, not least through the EPA1990 & LA2003, and such action is frequently taken by licensing authorities throughout the country. However if the licensing authority is not well enough resourced with qualified personnel to make the necessary assessments, ideally approaching the noise maker and quickly finding an informal solution, or should that fail then start formal action, then the complainant may feel that nothing is being done and the law is inadequate.

    Many complaints take too long to be investigated which often puts a significant psychological burden on the complainant. Faster action, skilled assessment of the noise (in simplest terms; “is it reasonable or not?”) and ideally mediation between both parties at an early stage would be extremely beneficial. Such a fast-track solution should result in less resources being tied up dealing with on-going complaints, and less costs for both sides as matters do not escalate into lengthy legal confrontations over matters that should be simple to resolve. What is required is not more legislation but adequately trained and suitably empowered enforcement professionals. In areas where suitably skilled local government officers do exist it is my experience that they are highly respected by both sides in a dispute, and matters are frequently resolved through negotiation and cooperation. But many local authorities have failed to recruit or retain such people and it is in these areas where noise control is either lacking or misguided, and where even simple problems take a long time to resolve.

    • Stewart Brock said on September 20, 2011 at 9:18 pm

      I very much agree with Richard that the main problem is that the local government system is underresourced to deal with night-time noise effectively. As a result very few areas have effective noise services at the times when these services are actually needed. Then complainants are often asked to keep noise diaries to record when they are bothered by noise. Unfortunately this does seem to lead to mental health problems in some cases as people become obsessed by the noise source and the lack of action to address it.

      While noise nuisance law can be effective, for example with machinery noise which is readily assessed, it simply fails to work well too often for neighbour noise such as music and dogs. Even when LAs do have good noise services it can be difficult for officers to deal effectively with intermittent problems.

      Perhaps a citizen resolution option is needed alongside noise nuisance law so that three adults from separate households can join together and seek a noise order from a magistrate in a simple procedure?

      Comment Tags: noise dogs music

    • Mr MJR said on January 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      I agree with most of your points, however cannot agree with the point – ‘it simply fails to work well too often for neighbour noise such as music and dogs’. The council i work for (as an EHO) has one of the highest enforcement rates in the country and seize and prosecute many times a year. The only way for us to be more effective is through money! the legislation is fine if you use it correctly, we never loose cases in court and have a high customer satisfaction rate. If we had more officers working out of hours for longer we would be more affective end of story.

  • Peter Hubbard said on May 17, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Please leave them as they are

  • Jane Pawley said on May 16, 2011 at 9:54 am

    I would wish to make improvement to the current legislation by including a clause which puts the onus on those neighbours who create noise and nuisance to be held responsible for their lack of social consideration. At the moment sellers of property must discose if their neighbours create noise or general mayhem.It is hardly logical that those who have had to endure such conditions should then be unable to sell because of the neighbours` behaviour. instead those who create the disturbance should be held liable if the property will not sell merely because of their actions. All other noise regulation should be retained and improved.

  • Cathy Streeter said on May 16, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Local authorities need to offer local residents protection against road noise within a time frame and not be able to keep putting it off year after year because of budgets. The M20 needs resurfacing at Junction 9 to protect the local residents it has been agreed thats its needed but always slips year a fter year. they need to make a commitment and stick to it, or at least not be able to continuously delay the work.

    • Mr MJR said on January 5, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      the resurfacing of the motorways is the remit of the Highways Agency and unfortunately the council couldnt take action against them – perhaps this needs changing

  • C Jones said on May 15, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    If Vince Cable thinks that the Code pf Practice relating to ice cream van chimes is unnecessary and burdensome, he should try living in Flint, North Wales, where life is hell through the operators of these vans breaking the law with impunity.

    This “listening” exercise is probably bogus since the Government has ignored the overwhelming wish of the public to have wild animals banned from circuses.

  • Natalie Kibble said on May 13, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    A particular problem is the case law which rules that “coming to a nuisance” is no defence in law. Therefore if someone moves into a house next door to a pub which has live music and then complains about it, the authority can’t say “Well, you shouldn’t have moved next door to a pub then!” but has to treat it the same as other nuisance. There was a particular case in Birmingham where two residents of a (new build) block of flats near a live music venue complained and the pub was then given the option of spending a lot of money on improvements to reduce the noise or have a noise abatement order served. Just because two people out of an entire block of flats complained.

    • Mr MJR said on January 5, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      I would say the example in Birmingham was a planning error rather than the fault of residents or the enforcement officers (or the pub for that matter). Planners should protect the businesses as well as any future residents

  • Kimberley Atkinson said on May 8, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Once again, THESE ARE NOT RED TAPE!!!! Dog fouling and litter are problems where I live without the legislation i’m sure it would be much worse. Maybe they need tidying up and simplifying but not scrapping.

  • dani fiumicelli said on May 3, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Most of these regulations either cover transpsition of the European Noise Directive into UK law (of debatable benefit to the Uk as we already have a long history of dealing with noised through planing and nuisance legislation – but part of the subscription of being a member of the EU “club”) or provide additional coverage of noise problems that slipped through the legislative net when core legislation was passed e.g. Environmental Protection Act 1990 and Contro of pollution Act 1974 . Given the large number of noise complaints Local Authorities recieve (at least 250,000 for the last 5 years for about 2/3 of all LAs) and the emerging evidence linking noise and physical health we certainly don’t need to go easy on noise. Consolidating the regs all in one “Noise Act” would make using them easier.

    I must say the UK noise association proposal to allow individuals to shop around for an Environmental Health Practioner to “act on the behalf ” of aggrieved persons looks like a recipe for the wealthy to impose their own intolerances and prejudices on others. At least with the current system those charged with investigating complaints have to be neautral and objective in reaching a decision, rather than representing any particular interest. It also largely repeats the provisions of section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, without any of the checks and balances.

  • D Holmes said on May 2, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    As someone who has enforced this Act for Local Authorities & worked in the private sector for companies subject to enforcement action for alleged noise nuisance by Local Authorities I have to say that the Act is about right as it is. It could certainly do with being clarified and tidied up a bit, and the issue of vehicles in the street is a difficult one, but it will always be a difficult balence to mediate between those who want peace & quiet, occasionally to an unreasonable level, and those who need or wish to create noise such as a business. The real issues are around the resourcing of Local authorities to have enough well qualified staff, the Court system which is frankly a joke, and finding effective but fair penalities for those who will not comply with reasonable requests and notices.

  • Phil Hartley said on April 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Noise and nuisance legislation is essential to the operation of a civilised country. What on earth is an elected government doing in suggesting that it should be scrapped. How would you like to live next door to noisy neighbours, noisy industrial operations, building sites etc and have no potential for such operations to be stopped by enforcement action by environmental health officers. On the subject of general nuisances, these have been controlled by statute since the 19th century – presumably they were brought in then due to a need. That need is almost certainly more now than it was then. This is hardly legislation which was brought in by ‘New Labour’ to burdon industry etc. It has been gradually evolving for the last 150yrs. Much of it has hardly changed for the last 100yrs.

  • S. Keene said on April 26, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    These regulations should be streamlined and properly enforced. Unfortunately the actions of a few can seriously affect the quality of life for many. That’s why they are needed. Dog control regulations are still very much needed as fouling is still a considerable problem.

  • UK Noise Association said on April 26, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Red Tape

    Noise Legislation and Regulations

    Response from the UK Noise Association

    We welcome the Government’s decision to look again at noise regulations and legislation. The previous Government introduced a plethora of regulations to little discernible improvement in the noise climate. Indeed, the evidence shows that, during Labour’s term in office, the UK became a noisier place.

    As we are not sufficiently expert in the law to comment on much of the detailed legislation, this response largely focuses on bigger issues.

    Opt-out of the EU Noise Directive
    What has wasted so much time and money at both a government and local authority level has been the production of noise maps and noise action plans, required by the European Noise Directive. The whole process has reeked of Brussels bureaucracy. People don’t need a map to tell them how noisy a place might be! Most of the action plans seem to be little more than paper exercises.

    A second round of mapping and action plans is on the way. There is a danger that vast resources will be tied up in the whole pointless exercise all over again. We suggest that the Government should seek an opt-out from the European Noise Directive. Lacking targets or timescales to reduce noise, the Directive is little more than an exercise in bureaucracy. Its imminent revision suggests this will not change.

    More involvement of the private sector
    In recent years the problem has been less the lack of noise legislation than the poor enforcement of it, particularly by many local authorities and housing associations. We would like to see a much greater involvement of the private sector and the police in enforcement, particularly of neighbour/neighbourhood noise regulations. To enable this to happen legislation should be introduced by amending the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to allow individuals to appoint and authorise Independent Environmental Health Practitioners (registered with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health) to act on their behalf. It should permit such independent, private practitioners to serve Hazard Awareness and Nuisance Notices, on behalf of the individuals, where issues affecting public health exists. The provisions of the Housing Act 2004 should also be amended to allow any person aggrieved by a Category 1 Noise Hazard within their dwelling to apply to the local Magistrates Court for the abatement of the Hazard. In other words, take power out of the hands of local authorities and give more to individual citizens. Ideally, we would like to see individuals given a ‘menu’ to choose who might deal with their noise problem: local authorities, private consultants, the police or a mix of all three.

    Anti-social behaviour legislation
    We welcome the inclusion of noise in the anti-social behaviour legislation the Government is currently considering. It could provide a quick, effective and non-bureaucratic way to tackle many noise problems.

    Update Wind Farm Legislation
    The ETSU guidelines re: noise from wind farms are outdated and need to be revised.

Bookmark and Share