Resolving neighbour disputes

5. Complain about noise to the council

You can ask your local council for help if the neighbour dispute involves an activity that is damaging to health or a nuisance. This is known as a ‘statutory nuisance’.

This could include:

  • noise (including loud music and barking dogs)
  • artificial light (except street lamps)
  • dust, steam, smell or insects from business premises
  • smoke, fumes or gases
  • a build-up of rubbish that could harm health

Your council has a duty to investigate any statutory nuisance.

You should always try and solve the problem by talking to your neighbour or through mediation before contacting the council.

Penalties

If the council decides someone is causing a statutory noise nuisance they must issue a ‘noise abatement’ order. This tells the person what they must do to stop making a noise nuisance or else face further legal action.

If someone breaks an abatement order about noise from their home, they can be fined up to £5,000. If it’s noise from a factory or business, the penalty can be up to £20,000.