Noise and the Law
There are a number of ways in which the law relating to acoustics and noise control can make itself felt in our daily lives - and some of them aren’t very pleasant! The information shown on these pages is given without any warranty, either expessed or implied, although if I get it wrong there’s something very much amiss! My work as an Environmental Health Officer depended to a very large extent on my knowledge of acoustics law and procedures and I’m expected to be up to scratch.
For the private householder the usual reason for running up against noise and the law is the area of neighbour nuisance, where noise emissions from someone elses property are affecting your quality of life - or even when you have been told by the local Council that you are causing a nuisance. Domestic noise complaints are currently running at record levels in the UK and tie up huge resources at just about every local authority in the land. If you want basic advice on your ‘rights’ go straight to the noise & nuisance page.
Businesses can fall foul of nuisance legislation too, although the remedies tend to be more complex and the penalties for non-compliance are very much higher. In addition, all employers have obligations under the Health & Safety at Work etc Act, which includes compliance with the Noise at Work Regulations. Failure to take due notice of these Regulations can lead to you being responsible for damage to your employees hearing, which may then lead to claims for substantial damages. Just about no-one is immune to this - even the Police have faced claims for hearing damage from firearms teams and motorcycle patrol officers. Read the noise at work pages with care!
Finally, if decide to move, extend or modify your business you’ll generally have to submit a planning application, and noise is a planning issue which is taken very seriously indeed. The planning and noise pages will help you understand the process.