How do I report a noise complaint in Leeds? When to contact the council about noisy neighbours

Whether it's a nearby pub playing earsplittingly loud techno at 3am, or a neighbour drilling 700 holes in the wall for some reason, we've all at one point or another suffered from noise nuisances, and we all agree they can be an utter pain in the backside.

By Richard Beecham
Sunday, 17th July 2022, 4:45 am

Well don't fear, as we've made this handy guide on noise nuisances, what councils have to do to help and how you can get them to solve the problem.

What is a noise nuisance?

Councils must look into complaints about noise that could be a "statutory nuisance", according to the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Read More

Read More
'National emergency' Government warning as weather in Leeds could top 36C in hea...

For the noise to count as a statutory nuisance it must do one of the following:

- Unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises

- Injure health or be likely to injure health

What can councils do?

If they agree that a statutory nuisance is happening or will happen in the future, councils must serve an abatement notice. This requires whoever is responsible for the noise to stop or restrict it.

The notice can be delayed for up to seven days while the council tries to get the person responsible to stop or restrict the noise.

What kinds of noises and where?

Councils are responsible for looking into complaints about noise from premises including land like gardens and "certain vessels" - examples of these can be loud music or barking dogs.

They can also look into unreasonable levels of noise caused by vehicles, machinery or equipment in the street, such as car stereos.

However, noise nuisance laws do not apply to noise from traffic or planes, political demonstrations, or premises occupied by the armed forces, such as a barracks.

Councils can investigate complaints of statutory nuisance to tackle noise produced at any time of day or night.

They may also issue warning notices in response to complaints about noise above permitted levels from 11pm to 7am. These warning notices can be used by councils for noise that’s not a statutory nuisance.

What does the warning notice do?

The night time warning notice must tell the recipient that the noise is coming from the premises between 11pm and 7am and that it must be reduced to below the permitted level in a specified period (this must be at least 10 minutes after the notice is served and must end by 7am).

What if they don't shut up?

If the council thinks the noise still exceeds the permitted level after the specified period and wants to prosecute, they must measure the noise level from within the dwelling of the person who’s complained.

The permitted noise level using A-weighted decibels (the unit environmental noise is usually measured in) is:

34 dBA (decibels adjusted) if the underlying level of noise is no more than 24 dBA

10 dBA above the underlying level of noise if this is more than 24 dBA

If someone doesn’t comply with a warning notice without a reasonable excuse, councils can issue fines of up to £110 for a house and £500 for licensed premises, such as a pub.

They can also prosecute them if the person responsible doesn’t pay the fine on time and, if convicted, noisy neighbours can get a fine of up to £1,000 for houses and an unlimited amount for licensed premises.

I live in Leeds - who should I call about my noisy neighbour?

If the noise is taking place during the day, you can fill out this online form here.

If they have not been in touch with you within a week, call 0113 222 4402.

For those needing to urgently complain about noise happening between 5pm and 3:30am, call 0113 376 0337.

Leeds City Council says: "If you call our out of hours number, we will discuss your complaint with you and decide how serious the noise is. We will take down your details and try to arrange for one of our teams to visit.

"If we’re able to visit the site, we will ask for people to reduce their noise or end their event if it’s safe to do so. The person making the noise may have legal or enforcement action taken against them to stop the noise."