Noise management

Noise is an inevitable consequence of a mature and vibrant society, but it can have a negative effect on people’s quality of life, affecting their health and wellbeing.

Noise in England is managed through a number of complementary regimes.

If you’re having a problem with noise like loud music, noisy pubs, rowdy parties or barking dogs in your neighbourhood, your council can help you.

Noise is a devolved issue. Find out about management in:

Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006

The Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006 (as amended) transpose the Environmental Noise Directive into domestic law for England. These Regulations apply to environmental noise, mainly from transport. The regulations require regular noise mapping and action planning for road, rail and aviation noise and noise in large urban areas (agglomerations).

They also require us to produce Noise Action Plans based on the maps for road and rail noise and noise in agglomerations. The Action Plans identify Important Areas (areas exposed to the highest levels of noise) and suggests ways the relevant authorities can reduce these. Major airports and those which affect agglomerations are also required to produce and publish their own Noise Action Plans separately.

The Regulations do not apply to noise from domestic activities such as noise:

  • created by neighbours
  • at work places
  • inside means of transport

They also do not apply to noise due to military activities in military areas.

You can find out more about transport noise from:

Noise and the planning system

Noise needs to be considered when new developments may create additional noise and when new developments would be sensitive to the existing noise environment.

Statutory nuisance

Statutory nuisance legislations covers noise from:

  • premises
  • vehicles, equipment or machinery in the street
  • smells from industrial or business premises
  • insect infestations, smoke or artificial light from premises and accumulations or deposits on premises

Councils must look into complaints about noise that could be a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Find advice on dealing with noise, neighbours, pets and pests

Noise policy statement for England

The noise policy statement for England (NPSE) sets out the government’s overall policy on noise. It aims to promote good health and a good quality of life by effective management of noise in the context of government policy on sustainable development.

Published 2 July 2019