Noise nuisance offences
Produced in partnership with Jeremy Phillips and Charles Forrest of Francis Taylor Building
Noise nuisance offences

The following Corporate Crime guidance note Produced in partnership with Jeremy Phillips and Charles Forrest of Francis Taylor Building provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Noise nuisance offences
  • Noise nuisance
  • Public nuisance
  • Statutory noise nuisance offences
  • Sentences for breach of a noise abatement notice or nuisance order
  • Noise as anti-social behaviour

Noise is just one type of statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA 1990). For information about statutory nuisance generally, see Practice Note: Statutory nuisance.

Noise nuisance

Noise accounts for most of the complaints that local authorities and the Environment Agency (EA) receive about environmental pollution. Noise can be defined as any unwanted sound which occurs unexpectedly, or is too loud or repetitive. Noise at certain decibels can be hazardous to health, low frequency noise being as damaging as loud noise.

Noise nuisance is generally dealt with by local authorities as an environmental health issue. The police deal with complaints where the noise amounts to a breach of the peace, or where it is associated with threatening, violent or other anti-social behaviour. The police and local councils work together in taking measures or obtaining orders against residents engaging in anti-social behaviour ie causing alarm, harassment and distress to others. See Practice Note: Anti-social behaviour—environmental breaches.

Public nuisance

To create a public nuisance is an offence at common law. Public nuisance has to a large degree been superseded by statutory nuisance (see below).

Statutory noise nuisance offences

For detailed and more general information on statutory nuisance, see Practice Note: Statutory nuisance.

There are two categories of statutory nuisance under section 79(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA 1990)