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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Noise Nuisance

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Overview

We will only usually investigate a noise nuisance complaint where a resident living within the Birmingham boundary is affected. We do not investigate noise problems affecting commercial addresses. For example we are unable to investigate when noise from busking is reported by commercial premises (offices, shops, hotels etc.)

If you are suffering from noise nuisance we advise you to try and resolve the matter informally by speaking to, or sending a note to your neighbour about the problem you are experiencing. This approach often resolves the matter, improves neighbour relations and provides a more long term solution.

If you wish to report noise nuisance please use the report noise nuisance button above.


Please ensure when completing the form that you select the type of noise from the drop down list. It is very important that you only select "Behaviour Noise (e.g., people shouting or banging doors etc)" if that is the only or main issue. If the main issue is something else but there is also door banging and shouting please select the most appropriate issue type.

We also provide loudspeaker consents. If you would like to apply for a loudspeaker consent, please visit our loudspeaker consent scheme page.


Essential Information
  • If you have reported a problem with noise, an officer will contact you shortly to discuss the problem and they may ask you to complete a noise record form (see attachments below), in the form of a diary, for a period of time.

    A noise record form will help us to identify how long the noise goes on for and what effect it has on you and enjoyment of your home life. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website provides useful information on noise including a downloadable booklet 'Bothered by Noise?' (see attachment below), which offers important advice on dealing with noise problems.

    We try to resolve noise problems informally where possible and initially we may contact the person causing the noise to make them aware that complaints have been made.

    If the noise persists after an individual has been advised or warned, we will try to gather evidence to prove that the noise complained about is what is termed a 'statutory noise nuisance'. We may try to do this by either personally witnessing the noise or through the use of recording equipment.

    If you want us to resolve a noise nuisance for you, and we need to take legal action to do it we may have to disclose your personal details. For example, if we serve a Noise Abatement Notice the person causing the noise nuisance will have a right to know who made the complaint if they decide to legally appeal against the noise abatement notice in court. Similarly, if a case goes to the court you may be required to give evidence.

    In a few cases we can also use evidence given to us by independent third parties who may have witnessed the noise nuisance whilst at your property, for example from Police Officers, other council officials or health service workers.

Frequently Asked Questions
    • We can only take legal action in relation to statutory noise nuisances. We cannot normally take legal action, for example, in relation to transport noise.

    • The Fireworks Regulations Act 2004 placed new restrictions on the use of fireworks.

      The ordinary noise nuisance laws are not applicable to firework noise as:

      • A 'nuisance in law' must be a continuous state of affairs. A firework event, held maybe once a year for an hour or so, is not ongoing
      • Fireworks are often used to celebrate significant cultural or religious ceremonies and this would be the view taken by any court in relation to fireworks used during such periods
      • It would be difficult to prove beyond all reasonable doubt (Nuisance law is criminal law) that any one event or person is solely causing the noise problem when there may be scores of similar events in the locality
      • Birmingham covers a huge geographical area with thousands of buildings and gardens. To pinpoint which premises is hosting the event (in the dark) from an explosion occurring in the night sky and identifying the person responsible, (which may be different from the owner) is nigh on impossible
      • By virtue of the cost of fireworks few firework events last long enough to allow our noise patrol to reach them before they (and the evidence we would need) are over.
    • No. Anyone who believes that they are suffering from a statutory noise nuisance can take their own private civil action against the person causing the noise under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. To find out more contact a Solicitor or the Citizens Advice Bureau.

    • Our policy is to keep the personal information that we have about you such as your name and address, confidential.

      If you want us to resolve a statutory noise nuisance for you, and we need to take legal action to do it we may have to disclose your personal details. For example, if we serve a Noise Abatement Notice the person causing the noise nuisance will have a right to know who made the complaint if they decide to legally appeal against the Noise Abatement Notice in court. Similarly, if a case goes to the court you may be required to give evidence.

    • There are no noise levels set in law. Noise is a subjective assessment; therefore loud music being played from a detached property is unlikely to cause a nuisance whereas the same level of music in a block of flats is likely to cause a nuisance. Environmental health officers are qualified and trained to assess whether a noise is likely to be a statutory nuisance. They are also authorised to take legal action to stop the statutory nuisance.

    • If we can prove the noise is a statutory nuisance we are required to take action under Part III of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and this would normally mean serving a Noise Abatement Notice on the person(s) causing the nuisance. This can be the actual person causing the noise or any body who is allowing it to occur, for example the landlord of a property with noisy tenants.

      The Abatement Notice would require the statutory nuisance to be stopped and/or prevented from occurring again. If someone is found guilty of failing to comply with an Abatement Notice they can be fined up to a maximum of £5,000 for domestic noise and up to £20,000 for commercial noise. If we serve an abatement notice because of excessively loud music, but the problem continues, we will normally also seize all the sound equipment that is causing the problem.