Noise complaints

If you are being bothered by noise - don't suffer in silence - you can contact the Council for help.

The Council's Environmental Protection team responds to over 700 complaints about noise in West Lancashire each year. We can investigate noise complaints from a private domestic property, business or licensed premises. The noise can be from music, people noise (unreasonable shouting, screaming), DIY/TV/radio at unsociable hours, dog barking, machinery and fixed plant, intruder alarms, bird scarers, noise from vehicles only if the vehicles are on the curtilage of a property. We will handle any information provided to us in accordance with our Privacy Notice (pdf 60kb).

Our Environmental Protection team can only deal with noise that is regular and persistent and causes disturbance to a persons' daily living routine, for example the noise disturbs sleep.

How to complain about noise

To help us deal with your complaint, please note the following:

  • You must provide your own address and the exact address of the noise problem. If you do not know the address of the noise, we suggest you have a walk about to try to identify the address or speak to neighbours.
  • Complaints cannot be made anonymously to the Council. We will respect your anonymity, and so any information provided is for our purposes only and we will not divulge your details. However, we cannot prevent any complainant being identified if the source of the complaint is obvious.
  • For any new complaint, our first action will be to write to the person or premises causing the noise and we will send the complainant diary sheets to log the noise.
  • If the noise continues we will not take further action until the complainant informs us the noise is continuing by returning completed diary sheets to demonstrate to us that the noise is ongoing
  • We have no immediate powers to stop someone making a noise and so please note that the investigation of a noise complaint takes time and requires complainants to provide written evidence of the problem and how it affects them.
  • Where possible and safe to do so, we suggest complainants talk to the the persons believed to be making the noise in the first instance, before logging a complaint with the Council.
  • We do not provide advice to customers on noise issues prior to them making a complaint

If you are experiencing a problem with noise, whether it's from domestic or commercial premises, alert the council in the first instance. You can do this in three ways:

  • Click: noise complaint online form   
  • Call: 01695 577177 (message service for out of office hours)
  • Come in: visit a Customer Service Point at 52 Derby Street Ormskirk or the Concourse, Skelmersdale
  • See also our page on noise complaints in relation to bird scarers

Noise issues we cannot deal with:

  • Complaint relating to a an occupant of a council property making the noise or noise relating to antisocial behaviour, should be passed to our Estate Management team.
  • We can deal with construction noise only if it outside of the following allowed hours 8am-6pm Monday to Friday and 8am-1pm Saturdays. We cannot stop noise from pilling unless it is happening outside of the above times.
  • Firework noise – please refer this to local Police on 101
  • Noise from vehicles in the highway / noise from vehicles driving on the road i.e. road traffic noise – please refer to Lancashire County Council Highways Team.
  • Noise from roadworks taking place in the street – please refer to Lancashire County Council Highways Team.
  • One off events such as parties or noise that only happens infrequently for example every few weeks/months.
  • Normal living noise i.e. hearing next door shut doors, run up and down stairs, walk across floors which is the result of reasonable behaviour and / or  poor sound insulation between properties.
  • Noise from babies or children crying.
  • Noise from children playing inside or outside their own property at reasonable times e.g. jumping on trampoline.
  • Noise from people mowing their lawns once or twice a week.

Investigating complaints

When we have received your complaint we write to the people making the noise, advising them that a complaint has been made and making them aware that their behaviour is causing a problem.

If the noise continues we will assess whether or not further action is needed. In most cases the Council deals with noise problems by assessing whether the noise is unreasonable taking into account factors such as loudness, time of day, how often it occurs and how long it lasts. Noise which is unreasonable is then dealt with as a 'statutory nuisance' under the powers in the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Before considering action the pollution team will fully investigate a complaint to determine if the noise amounts to a statutory nuisance. The council will need to determine the following points:

  • The noise occurs often enough
  • The extent of the noise and its affect on the complainant
  • The noise lasts for unreasonable periods of time.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 also allows a person affected by noise to make a complaint directly to a magistrate's court. If you wish to pursue this option then the council can provide you with further information although it is recommended that you obtain legal advice before commencing any action.