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Noise problems

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First, try to resolve the problem calmly

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.

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Disputes with neighbours

Should you be affected by a conflict with your neighbour either over noise or another dispute you may wish to make use of an independent mediation service.

The West Sussex Mediation Service can provide help and advice in finding solutions to everyday problems with neighbours such as noise, parking, pets, rubbish, hedges, etc.

This Mediation Service is completely free of charge to all residents of Adur District, Arun District, Crawley Borough, Horsham District, Mid Sussex District, Worthing Borough and West Sussex.

For more information about their services, and their contact details, please see the West Sussex Mediation Service website.

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What the Councils can help with

The Councils may be able to help if the noise is caused by one of the following:

  • Music or amplified speech resulting from regular parties, loud hi-fi, TV or radio
  • Noise from demolition or construction works
  • Audible intruder alarms
  • Car alarms
  • Noise from commercial or industrial premises
  • DIY and car repairs
  • Barking dogs

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Adur & Worthing service standards

  • We will investigate your complaint as fully as possible and will take the most appropriate course of action given the legislative restrictions and circumstances of each case.
  • We aim to respond to your initial complaint within three working days and, if the matter is an urgent referral, within half a working day.
  • We aim to witness recurrent out-of-hours problems by pre-planned out-of-hours visits or by installation of monitoring equipment.
  • We aim to resolve your complaint within two months (resolved means a decision has been made on the most appropriate action, i.e. serve a Statutory Notice or take no further action).
  • It is not always possible to bring your complaint to a conclusion that is satisfactory to you in all ways.

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Animal noise

Animal noise can be a cause of annoyance or nuisance to neighbours. The following may give helpful advice:

Dogs:

Chickens:

You do not need a licence for keeping chickens, however be aware that they could become a nuisance to neighbours such as noise related issues (cockerels crowing at the break of dawn). The following guide gives useful advice to residents on keeping chickens:

See also:

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How to make a noise complaint

The Public Health & Regulation Team investigate noise complaints in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Formal action can only be taken if the noise constitutes a statutory nuisance. If the noise you complain of is not listed above, or is a one off or occasional event, it is not likely to be a statutory nuisance and therefore the Councils are 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 Environmental Protection team. The following information will be required so that the matter can be investigated:

  • your name, address and contact telephone number
  • the name of the person causing the noise and/or address if the source of the problem
  • details concerning the type of noise, the pattern and history of the problem

Complaints are logged and passed to an Environmental Officer who may contact you for further information.

It will then be necessary for you to keep a log of noisy events, usually for a period of two weeks. Completed sheets should be returned to the Case Officer for analysis. 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 attend your premises outside of normal office hours to witness the alleged nuisance.

If, after witnessing the noise, the officer is satisfied that a statutory nuisance exists and informal action has not resolved the problem, then an Abatement Notice will be served requiring the noise to cease or be reduced.

The offender may appeal against the notice (this may suspend the notice until the appeal is resolved). It will then be necessary for evidence supporting the case to be given in Court. If the Council takes formal action on your behalf you must be prepared to attend Court to give evidence supporting your complaint.

It is an offence not to comply with an Abatement Notice. If the conditions on the Notice are broken you must inform the Council. Once an offence has been witnessed by an Authorised Officer the offender may be prosecuted at the Magistrates Court. Supporting evidence from yourself will be required (log sheets, written statement). If the case is proved a substantial fine may be imposed.

If after investigation, the officer is of the opinion that a Statutory Nuisance does not exist you will be advised of this decision and the Councils will take no further action.

Log sheets should be kept by you until such time that the problem is resolved either by the Councils or by your own actions.

If the Councils are unable to help

If the Councils are unable to help with your problem Civil Action can be taken under common law or you could take your complaint direct to the Magistrates Court (Section 82 Environmental Protection Act 1990). If you are considering taking your own action you are advised to contact a solicitor.

To make a complaint please use the form below:

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Out of hours noise complaints

The Councils provide an out-of-hours service for emergency noise problems. The Councils' contractor will respond to complaints about continuously misfiring car alarms or other audible intruder alarms or other noise nuisance having a serious impact on several households in the vicinity of a noise source.

The contractor will not respond to 'one to one' complaints nor to any neighbour noise dispute, unless the complaint is on-going and has previously been referred to the contractor by the Environmental Health Officer dealing with the case. Any non-emergency complaint should be made to the Councils during normal office hours to the Public Health & Regulation Team.

To report an out of hours emergency noise problem, telephone 07713 889 128‚Äč.

Please dial this number carefully to ensure you get the correct number and don't disturb someone else.

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