The Pollution Control & Local Government (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 imposes a duty on District Councils to deal with noise nuisances which arise in their areas.
Sources of noise are wide ranging and include domestic premises, industrial/commercial developments, construction sites and public entertainment venues.
Domestic Noise Nuisances
Most nuisances investigated arise from domestic properties. Complaints received include those concerning noise from barking dogs, DIY work and amplified music.
When a complaint is received, the Environmental Health Officer will normally ask the complainant to complete a noise monitoring form over a period of three weeks or more. If on completion this information indicates that a statutory noise nuisance may exist, the officer will attempt to gather independent evidence. This can be done by setting up noise monitoring equipment to record and measure the offending noise and/or by Officers witnessing the noise and measuring it.
Resolution of a noise nuisance can either be dealt with on an informal or statutory basis. The informal approach is normally the preferred option as this tends to resolve the problem faster and creates less hostility between the parties. This approach may include structured mediation. Formal action which can be taken to resolve the problem includes the serving of a Statutory Notice and the instigation of legal proceedings in the Magistrates Court. However, it should be noted that the Council may not always be able to resolve a noise complaint to the satisfaction of the complainant.
Industrial/Commercial Noise Nuisance
Occasionally noise complaints concerning commercial or industrial noise sources are received. The Environmental Health Officer will ensure where a nuisance is established that all reasonable and practical steps are taken by the person responsible to ensure that the noise levels are controlled at a suitable level. Any resulting formal action where a Statutory Noise Notice has been served may be followed up by court action where necessary. However, noise from some industrial premises is regulated through the issue of a Permit by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
Public Entertainment Noise
Noise emanating from premises such as pubs, clubs and discos which have an Entertainment Licence is controlled by enforcing licensing conditions to ensure residents in the area are not unreasonably disturbed.
Construction Site Noise
Councils can enforce hours of operation and noise levels on construction sites where noise is affecting residents or businesses in the area.
Other types of noise
We are not responsible for complaints about all types of noise.
The following information may be useful if you are concerned about other types of noise:
For example, shouting, rowdy behaviour, car alarms or car horns.
- Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)
Telephone: 028 6632 2823
- Roads Service, Department for Regional Development (Belfast Division)
Telephone: 028 6634 3700
- Ports and Public Transport Division, Department for Regional Development
Telephone: 026 9089 3900
Military aircraft (planes and helicopters)
- Army Headquarters Northern Ireland
Telephone: 028 9266 5111
Making a complaint
If you are experiencing a problem with noise, call us on 028 6632 5050
This number operates from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
What happens when I make a complaint?
We will take details of your complaint and arrange for a member of our noise control team to visit you as soon as possible.
Our officers will need direct evidence of the noise you are experiencing, so it is important to contact them when the noise is affecting you, rather than afterwards.
If we believe your complaint is reasonable, we will usually issue a warning notice to the person responsible.
If the noise continues we will ask you to complete Noise Complaint log sheet so we can establish when the noise occurs.
In some circumstances, if we believe someone is causing a legal nuisance, we will issue a Noise Abatemant Notice.
The person responsible may be brought to court and fined if they do not comply with the notice.
You may also take your own action against the person responsible by complaining directly to the Magistrates' Court or by taking civil action.
Dealing with a noise problem
If you're concerned about noise, try using the following steps:
- approach the person responsible for the noise and politely explain the problem to them
- try to reach acompromise, for example, not playing music after 9pm at night
- if this does not work, or you do not want to speak to the person directly, call our noise control team on 028 6632 5050 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday)
Aircraft and Road Traffic Noise
Complaints about noise from road traffic or rowdy behaviour in streets are dealt with by the DRD Roads Service or the Police Service of Northern Ireland respectively. Civil aircraft noise control is primarily a matter for the airport management; military aircraft noise complaints should be addressed to :}
T: (028) 9266 5111