Noise complaints

Page updated on: 13/02/2024

Our Pollution Team has officers with recognised qualifications in the field of acoustics and noise control. The team receives large numbers of noise complaints during the year.

It is normal to hear a certain amount of noise from your neighbours or near to your home, such as:

  • If your home is connected to or close to another building you will experience a certain amount of general living noise such as children crying, doors closing, banging, occasional shouting/arguing, household appliances etc.
  • It is normal for dogs to bark sometimes. 
  • Building work or DIY will cause noise for a period of time.
  • People may have occasional parties to celebrate birthdays, weddings, religious events etc.
  • Businesses will generate a certain amount of noise during their activity. This may be permitted by planning or licensing legislation.

However, if noise is excessive or as a result of unreasonable behaviour, we may be able to assist in certain cases. Officers can assess whether the noise is a statutory nuisance and what action can be taken.

Before you report a noise problem to us, you may wish to try and approach your neighbour, who may not be aware that they are causing a problem (see below).

What we CAN investigate includes:

  • DIY activities at unreasonable hours
  • Persistent Dog Barking
  • Commercial or industrial processes
  • Construction/demolition sites
  • Pubs /clubs or other areas of public entertainment
  • Loud Music
  • Property/Vehicle Alarms
  • Noise resulting from Anti-social behaviour

There are also some sources of noise that CANNOT be dealt with under legislation, including:

  • Everyday living noises e.g., footfall, occasional shouting, banging, door slamming, flushing toilets
  • Normal use of household appliances eg., washing machine, vacuum cleaner
  • DIY carried out at reasonable times of day.
  • Noise due to poor sound insulation
  • Arguments/shouting/screaming.
  • Traffic noise on public roads
  • Reasonable amounts of dog barking
  • Children crying/playing

There is no fixed level at which noise becomes a statutory nuisance, as defined by Section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. A number of factors must be taken into consideration, such as time the noise occurs, duration of the noise, necessity for the noise, noise levels, nature of the locality etc.

We will investigate complaints in accordance with our internal Policies and Procedures (link policy)

MAKE A NOISE COMPLAINT          Noise Procedure

Frequently Asked Questions

This is not the case. Judgement of the presence of a Statutory Noise Nuisance is dependent on a number of factors. Whilst one factor is the time of day, noise could still be deemed a Statutory Nuisance throughout daytime hours if it is judged to be loud, persistent and/or frequent enough.

No, unfortunately due to resourcing issues a dedicated ‘out of hours’ service is not possible.

No, we do not inform them of any dates or times when monitoring is going to take place. We inform the source of the complaint of our investigation with the aim of resolving the matter at the outset, but a monitoring schedule is not disclosed.

There are times when, despite our best efforts, a noise complaint cannot be pursued any further. This may be due to our judgement that a noise nuisance does not exist, or because there is a lack of supporting evidence to make a strong case. We understand that you may feel aggrieved that we are taking no further action, however we will advise you that under S82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 you can take own action in respect of an alleged statutory noise nuisance.

Carmarthenshire County Council receive numerous complaints each year regarding noise arising from cockerels crowing.

We understand that crowing is a natural and instinctive thing for cockerels to do, yet if it occurs during early hours of the morning or for prolonged periods of time over the day then the crowing could cause a disturbance to your neighbours and constitute a Statutory Noise Nuisance as defined by section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This can particularly be the case if the cockerel is kept in a built-up residential area, whereby the complainants are living close to the cockerel.

The aim of this is to provide practical steps to try to minimise your cockerel crowing

Being told your cockerel is crowing too much:

We appreciate you may be annoyed and/or upset when you initially hear that a complaint has been made in relation to your cockerel crowing too much. You may be made aware of the complaint by your neighbour and/or by the Local Authority.

This may be the first time you are made aware that your cockerel is crowing too much, try to remain calm should this happen. Try to see the situation from their point of view.

Steps to take to try to minimise the crowing….

  • Firstly, have a think about whether you need the cockerel. It is often a misconception that a cockerel is needed for hens to lay eggs, yet this is not the case.
  • Ensure the cockerel is located as far away from the neighbours as possible
  • Keep the coop as dark as possible to minimise early morning crowing
  • Lower the ceiling height of the coop to prevent cockerel throwing its head back and crowing.
  • Sound proofing the coop that houses the cockerel
  • Having more than one cockerel can cause them to compete with each other and crow more
  • Keep the cockerel in the coop during the night and until a reasonable hour during the morning, such as 7:30am on weekdays and 8:00am on weekends.

Be mindful that in some cases, the location of where the cockerel is kept could be so unsuitable (ie within such proximity to residential properties) that none of the above measures will be sufficient to reduce the noise from the cockerels, should this be the case and your cockerel is causing a disturbance to your neighbours then rehousing your cockerel should be considered.

Most people will have to undertake DIY works at some point to get jobs done around the house. The jobs could be small scale such as hanging a picture on the wall to larger scale like a complete renovation of a property. People often have to ‘fit in’ doing these works around their day-to-day work, which means the DIY works are often done during the evenings or weekends. This, coupled with the fact that works of this nature are inherently noisy, can cause neighbours to complain. This leaflet aims to provide some simple steps that can be taken to try to minimise disturbance on your neighbours.

There are no time restrictions stipulated within UK legislation as to when DIY works can or can’t be undertaken. This does not mean people are free to do such works when they want, if it is likely to cause a disturbance to their neighbours. Due regard must be given to the potential noise disturbance their actions may have on their neighbours by ensuring their neighbours are having the respite they need.

Reasonable times for DIY works….

What we would consider reasonable times to undertake DIY works in most circumstances are outlined below:

  • Monday to Friday - 08:00 – 20:00
  • Saturday - 09:00 – 19:00
  • Sunday - 10:00 - 17:00

Before starting DIY works….

Talk to your neighbour before starting any DIY works. Let them know your intentions, how long the works are likely to go on for, and the times that you hope to work. Once you have agreed these times, stick to them. Consider any concerns they have seriously and compromise where possible to overcome these issues.

Provide them with your contact number so if they have got any concerns or complaints they can contact and discuss these with you.

When undertaking DIY Works….

  • Radio - Often DIY works and listening to music/radio goes hand in hand. Being mindful of what volume the radio/music is being played at can reduce the noise disturbance caused to your neighbours.
  • Party walls - Undertaking works on party walls can sound very loud to your neighbour, even ‘quieter’ tasks such as sanding the wall can sound loud if done on a party wall, therefore being mindful of the times you do this can minimise the noise disturbance caused to your neighbours. You may also need to meet the requirements of the Party Wall Act. For further information see Building Regulations.
  • Noisy works - Keeping noisy works, such as drilling, hammering to hours such as 10am – 4pm can reduce the noise disturbance on your neighbours. Also, providing them with plenty of respite from this work will help.
  • Tools - Make sure the tools you use are well maintained and are fit for use. Often wrong tools for the job or old tools in poor disrepair will create more noise than necessary.

Making a noise complaint…

If you are being disturbed by DIY noise we advise, if safe to do so, to approach your neighbour and discuss your complaint with them first. Should this not be successful then please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01558 825340, alternatively you can make a noise complaint online or e-mail publicprotection@carmarthenshire.gov.uk. We will investigate your complaint accordingly in line with our noise complaint procedure. We aim to resolve complaints informally where possible but have legal powers should the noise be excessive and constitute a Statutory Nuisance. In these instances, we will consider serving a legal notice on the person responsible asking them to take measures to reduce the noise disturbance, such as restricting the times they are permitted to carry out the works.

We deal with noise complaints arising from public entertainment venues, including pubs, clubs, outdoor events, and sporting occasions.

The majority of venues providing entertainment require a licence.

Visit the Licensing section of our website for more information on this process or to make an application.

There are provisions contained within section 60 and 61 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 to control noise from construction or demolition sites.

Section 61 of the Act enables a person who intends to carry out works on a construction site to apply for prior consent. There are steps that must be followed when considering an application for prior consent, and sufficient time periods prior to commencement of work must be allowed before consent can be granted. If consent is granted, it will usually contain conditions that must be complied with in order to minimise noise as far as is reasonably possible.

Further information on this process and an outline of the kind of information we need is contained within this document:

Many noise complaints relate to misfiring or faulty burglar alarms. In cases where the persistent sounding of an alarm gives rise to a statutory noise nuisance, we have the power to obtain a warrant to enter a property and stop the alarm sounding. If this course of action is taken, it is usually done accompanied by a police officer and an alarm specialist.

In order to avoid the need for obtaining a warrant and forcibly entering a property to deal with a faulty alarm, we keep a register of nominated keyholders for properties with alarms. This is a confidential register and makes contacting someone who can assist with a faulty alarm if the homeowner is away a simple process.

Register of KeyHolders for Burglar Alarms