Noise is an unavoidable part of everyday life whether it is in town or countryside we are surrounded by noise most of the time. While we must accept a certain degree of noise in our daily lives there are some types of noise that are unacceptable. Often people will react to noise in different ways. What can cause extreme annoyance to one person may hardly be noticed by another. The most common types of noise complaints we received relate to:
Barking dogs and other animals
Loud music and parties
Commercial and industrial
Pubs bars and clubs
Vehicles, machinery or equipment
Noise complaints are dealt with by the Environmental Protection section of the Environmental Health Department. If you live within the Craigavon area please ring 028 3831 2521 to make a complaint or seek advice.
What you can do if you are suffering a noise problem.
What the Council can do.
Other factors for consideration.
Guidance / information leaflets.
Making a Complaint.
How long does it take to resolve a noise complaint?
Taking your own action.
What you can do if you are suffering a noise problem
Often a direct, informal approach to the person responsible for the noise is all that is needed to solve the problem. It is not unusual for them to be unaware that they are disturbing other people. However, it may be unwise to make your complaint in the heat of the moment when you are tired, frustrated or angry, the situation could get out of hand. It is better to wait until later when the matter can be discussed calmly.
If the noise nuisance persists and your informal request has failed to resolve the matter you can take your complaint to Environmental Protection Team. Complaints can be made in writing, by telephone or by personal visit. The following information will be required so that the matter can be investigated.
Your name, address and contact telephone number;
The address of the source of the problem and (if known) the name of the person causing the noise
Details concerning the type of noise, the pattern and history of the problem.
Environmental Health Officers investigate noise complaints in accordance with the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (NI) 2011. Formal action can only be taken if the noise constitutes a statutory nuisance. If the noise you complain of is a one off or occasional event, it is not likely to be a statutory nuisance and therefore the Council is unlikely to be able to use formal action to resolve the matter.
What the Council can do:
Offer advice on possible actions to deal with your problem
Keep your details confidential, unless legally required to divulge them
Write to the person causing the problem
Write to you and ask you to keep a diary record of the problem
Use noise monitoring/recording equipment where necessary
Deal with urgent noise complaints such as intruder alarms on the same day
Consider legal action against those persons who continue to be unreasonable.
Serve a Noise Abatement Notice when a noise nuisance has been established.
Work with other agencies such as PSNI, NIHE to help resolve complaints
Other factors for consideration
Many other factors determine whether or not a noise is a statutory nuisance:
The time of day
The location e.g. urban/rural
The duration of the noise
The volume of the noise
The character of the noise
The frequency of the noise
Guidance / information leaflets
Additional sources of information can be found on the following internet sites
Please Note: The Council is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
The investigation of a noise nuisance takes place in four stages, a synopsis of each are outlined below.
Initially complaints are logged and passed to an Environmental Protection Officer who may contact you for further information. The subject of the complaint will be contacted usually via letter and advised of the complaint (your name and address will not be disclosed at this time). Appropriate advice will be given and an attempt made to resolve the matter informally. In many cases this will be sufficient.
You as the complainant will be required to complete noise complaint record forms and return them after 2 – 3 weeks or other appropriate period depending on the nature of the complaint or advice of the investigating officer. You will also be asked to confirm your willingness to provide a witness statement and give evidence in Court. It is essential that the noise complaint record form is accurate with regard to the dates and times and duration of the noise.
The alleged perpetrator of the noise nuisance will be contacted to be advised of the complaint. At this stage your details will still be treated as confidential.
A number of visits will then be made in an attempt to witness the noise. Alternatively monitoring equipment may be left at your premises, or you may be put on the "out-of hours" call-out list enabling you to request an Officer to attend your premises outside of normal office hours to witness the alleged nuisance. In relation to Music/Party noise etc. a PSNI Officers will try to attend any calls made to their non emergency number 101, and provide witness statements if applicable to this Department. Formal action will not be taken with out an impartial/independent witness observing a noise nuisance.
Noise monitoring equipment is a sophisticated piece of equipment which is set up so that the complainant triggers audio recording when they believe the noise level is unacceptable. The equipment will pick up all sound once the trigger has been pressed.
If the officer is satisfied that a statutory nuisance exists you may be required to provide a witness statement and should be prepared to give evidence in Court. An Abatement Notice will usually be served on the person responsible. You should be aware that any person served with an Abatement Notice has a right of appeal to the courts at which stage the notice may be suspended. It is also at this stage that details of where noise recordings where taken may have to be provided.
It is an offence not to comply with an Abatement Notice. If conditions on the notice are broken you should inform the investigating officer of any possible breaches, and maintain the noise complaint record forms. If further complaints are received the recipient of the notice shall be advised of their obligations with regard to the notice. Further complaints will be investigated and monitored where practicable, with a view to enforcing the requirements of the notice. Once an offence has been witnessed by an Authorised Officer the offender may be prosecuted at the Magistrates Court.
The service in Craigavon is not a 24 hours 7 days a week response service. For noise concerns outside of office hours, a range of approaches are deployed to investigate nuisances, including programmed inspections, the use of monitoring equipment, and on-call officers being available for specific circumstances and events.
For further information, please contact the Environmental Protection Team on 028 38 312 521.
How long does it take to resolve a noise complaint:
There are no specific time periods for complaints to get resolved.
If the informal approach works, a complaint could be resolved within a few weeks. However, should the need arise for a formal investigation to be carried out it can take much longer.
Taking your own action:
Third party mediation
Alternatively, the you may seek to resolve the complaint through mediation - www.mediationnorthernireland.org
If you have contacted your neighbour and this has not resovled the issue and you still want go down the informal approach, you may wish to use mediation to resolve the matter before complaining to the council.
In mediation an independent third party listens to your views and your neighbour's, and possibly brings you together to reach an agreement.
You can find out about the availability of mediation by contacting Mediation Northern Ireland at the following address:
Mediation Northern Ireland
83 University Street
Telephone: 028 9043 8614
It is important to try to resolve noise issues by informal means in the first instance, so that you can demonstrate to a court at a later stage that you tried to be reasonable.
If you have contacted the Council and they are unable to help you with your problem Civil Action can be taken under common law or you could take your complaint direct to the Magistrates Court (under Section 70 Clean Neighbourhoods and Environments Act (NI) 2011). If you are considering taking your own action you are advised to contact a solicitor.