Government response

Response to recent media reports about noise complaints

Eric Pickles responds to recent media reports about noise complaints.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:

“In recent years, too many town halls have been over-zealous in trying to silence church bells and village clocks which have chimed for decades, if not centuries. We need some common sense about such long-standing community uses, and recognise such sounds are part of the fabric of Britain’s national life, rather than trying to white-wash all the character out of our heritage in some politically correct, ‘elf and safety purge.

“My department has now issued new, clear guidance to councils that the local character of a place should be taken into account during noise disputes, whilst ensuring councils still have powers to tackle new noise pollution that was never previously there.

“If people don’t like the chime of a church bell that has sounded for centuries, they reflect on whether they want to live next door to a church in the first place, or they should consider the merits of double glazing.”


See more details on noise guidance.

The guidance issued has helped to protect landlords from the crippling costs associated with soundproofing their venues.

Published 2 February 2015