The Pollution Control & Local Government (N.I) Order 1978 imposes a duty on District Councils through their Environmental Health Officers to deal with noise nuisances, which arise in their areas. These can arise from many different causes including industrial/commercial developments, construction sites, public entertainment venues and domestic premises.
Statistics show that approximately 80% of noise complaints arise from domestic sources. Such complaints include noise from barking dogs, DIY work and amplified music.
When it comes to the everyday sounds of a busy neighbourhood, each person has a different lifestyle, different tastes and different tolerances.
Some noise is unavoidable - but there are simple ways to avoid disturbing others and positive steps you can take if you're fed up with suffering in silence.
Be a Considerate Neighbour (Tips for Keeping the peace)
Stereo and TV:
Keep the volume at a reasonable level or use headphones. Do not place your TV and speakers against the party wall with your neighbour, and raise them from the floor if possible.
Do not mow the lawn or start the DIY at the crack of dawn. You may be an early riser, but others could be trying to get some rest. 'Night owls' should equally think about doing their vacuuming or washing at less 'anti-social' hours.
If you're planning a party, warn your neighbours well in advance - they are likely to be much more understanding - you might even invite them! Either way, don't ruin their evening - and encourage guests to be equally respectful.
Dogs may bark because they are lonely. Constant barking or whining can be disturbing to your neighbours. A well-trained dog will not bark unnecessarily. Be aware of how your dog behaves when left outside.
What to do if you have a problem with noise:
Firstly try talking to your neighbours. If they realise their activities are causing problems for others they are often happy to reduce the noise. This informal approach is normally the preferred option, as this tends to resolve the problem faster and creates less hostility between the parties.
What is the procedure for more formal action?
When a complaint is received, the Environmental Health Officer will normally ask the complainant to complete a noise monitoring form over a period of two to three weeks. If on completion, this information indicates that a statutory noise nuisance may exist, the officer will attempt to gather independent evidence. This can be accomplished by a personal visit from the officer or by setting up noise monitoring equipment to record and measure the offending noise.
Formal action that can be taken to resolve the problem includes the serving of a statutory notice, and the Council may institute legal proceedings in the Magistrate's Courts if there is non- compliance with the notice, that is, if the noise persists after the notice has been served. In the case of N.I.H.E. property the incidence of noise nuisances may also be reported to the Executive who may invoke their own action under the tenancy agreement.
Industrial/Commercial Noise Nuisances
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.
For further information, please contact Environmental Health.
Downshire Civic Centre
T: 0 28 4461 0823