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Noise & Nuisance

Noise nuisance is on the increase as lifestyles change, but issues such as barking dogs and amplified music are still the most common types of complaints we receive. Where a complaint of a statutory nuisance is made to us, we have a duty to take steps to investigate the complaint and take steps to the remedy the situation where a statutory nuisance is proved to exist.

Upon receiving a complaint we will require you to keep records of the noise nuisance (802kb). This may be used as evidence in a Magistrates Court at a later date. After submitting these records, our officers will undertake an investigation using a range of equipment including sound level meters and digital recordings.

Where a nuisance is found to exist, or is likely to occur or re-occur legal action may be taken against the person responsible to abate and prevent its recurrence.

Anti Social Behaviour

Please visit our main anti social behaviour web page for more information.

Barking Dogs

Barking Dogs are commonly complained about. But many dogs like to bark! It's a totally natural thing for them to do and in most cases it doesn't cause any problems.

However, sometimes a dog may bark a lot, disturbing neighbours, keeping you awake at night or frightening visitors to your home. You don't want to get into trouble because of your dog's barking – so what can you do? A barking dog is lonely, bored or unhappy. If you have to leave your dog, make sure it has had enough exercise. If necessary leave the radio on to keep it company and get a neighbour to look in. Our Barking dogs leaflet will explain what you can do help stop your dog barkign and causing a nuisance.

You can report an issue about a dog barking using our new On-line services website.

Burglar Alarms

Alarms are annoying. If you have a house alarm, you should be able to register a key holder with us – this will save your neighbours trouble and you expense if your alarm goes off while you are away.

We have also produced a leaflet called Don't Alarm Your Neighbours (562kb) to help you deal with this problem.

Commercial Noise

Sometimes people at work or at home are disturbed by noise or odour that originates from commercial or industrial premises. Examples are extraction flues, machinery noise, fan noises, vehicle movements, alarms and radios. Where these occur continuously or loudly, or when they are new noises, they can be very annoying.

If you are disturbed by such a noise or odour, and are able to identify the source, try visiting the premises and speaking to the Manager. In many cases, they are not aware that there is a problem and are happy to try to resolve it. If you are unable to do this, or it is not successful, you can ask us to investigate. Be prepared to provide your own details, and information relating to the noise – what it sounds like, when it occurs, how long it goes on, where it comes from (if you know), and how it affects you. You may be asked to keep a diary of the disturbance.



Fireworks are no longer just used on bonfire night, but to mark public and private celebrations as well as traditional events. Whilst they can add excitement to these occasions they can also frighten and disturb people and animals, cause annoyance, damage and have an adverse impact on air quality. The bright colours and effects in fireworks are produced by chemicals that are released into the atmosphere.

If we judge noise from fireworks to be a statutory nuisance we can issue an abatement notice under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. As firework noise is short lived, in practice it can prove difficult to locate the source. To avoid noise problems with fireworks we recommend that you:

  • Tell your neighbours about the display
  • Use appropriate fireworks - try to avoid the really noisy ones
  • Make sure pets and other animals are safely away
  • Consider the timing of the display
  • Avoid letting off fireworks in unsuitable weather such as when it is still or misty
  • Locate the fireworks away from buildings that could reflect noise

The UK Firework Review website contains the main laws, regulations and other key points you will need to be aware of when you buy and use fireworks in the UK.

Loud Music

We do not want to stop people having fun or playing their music, but not everyone wants to listen to it. So we ask people to apply some common sense and a bit of common courtesy when they are playing music so it does not disturb neighbours or the whole street.

Please be aware that noise from loud music can be considered a nuisance to neighbours at any time of day or night. If you are disturbed by loud music, then please speak to your neighbour in the first instance. If this does not work, then we can investigate this for you. If we receive a complaint of loud music the investigating officer will consider the following when assessing nuisance:

  • The volume of music, in particular the bass content which often gives rise to an annoying "bass thump" in neighbouring properties. Please remember that the volume of music should decrease as the evening draws on.
  • The duration of the noise - Neighbours may tolerate the playing of music by a neighbour for brief periods but prolonged or excessive bouts of music during the day or night is likely to be disturbing. Sleep disturbance is the most common reason for reporting parties/gatherings to us so be wary of the likely impact that birthday parties, after pub drink ups etc will have on your neighbours.

Noisy Neighbours

From time to time we may all be able to hear noises which originate from outside our homes. Most of the time these do not affect or bother us, but sometimes they can interfere with our own enjoyment of our homes. The main complaints are about barking dogs, loud music or television, shouting, banging doors, intruder alarms and do-it-yourself activities. We can all expect, or make, some level of neighbour noise as no house or flat is totally soundproof. However, if this noise amounts to a nuisance there is action we can take to resolve the problem.

The problem may be poor insulation between properties, when perfectly reasonable noise from normal activity is heard in the adjacent property. If this is the case, then try having a word with your neighbour yourself – they may not be aware that their noise can be heard outside their home. However, iIt could be that some people are more sensitive or less tolerant to noise. In these cases there is little we can do apart from help with mediation. However, in cases where the noise is caused by unreasonable behaviour we may be able to help.

We will ask you to keep a diary of the noisy occurrences for approximately two weeks or sometimes longer and we may come out and listen to the noise ourselves, and contact the other party/your neighbour. We will suggest a solution or compromise to both parties if we consider the noise to be unreasonable. However, it is possible that we feel there is no justification for our involvement. In this case, we would offer advice to you, and explain the reasons for our decision.

We cannot respond to anonymous complaints as we need to prove nuisance at the home of the people disturbed by the noise.

Smoke & Odours

Bolsover District has been declared a smoke control area and details of authorised smokeless fuels and exempt appliances can be found on the DEFRA website.

Under the Clean Air Act local authorities may declare certain areas of their District to be a smoke control area, which helps to reduce pollution in particular concentrations of smoke and associated sulphur dioxide levels which can be harmful to health. Within a smoke control area only authorised smokeless fuels can be burnt on fireplaces and it is an offence to emit smoke from a chimney and to acquire an unauthorised fuel for use in a smoke control area.

However, some fireplaces are 'exempt'. This means they have passed tests to confirm that they are capable of burning an unauthorised solid fuel with little or no smoke emission. If you have an 'exempt' appliance you can burn unauthorised solid fuels such as coal and wood.


Odour nuisance is dealt with under Section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (Part 3). Odour complaints can arise from a number of sources such as food odour from takeaway outlets and restaurants, through to more industrial sources, such as solvent smells from paints spraying. Odour from a domestic setting cannot be dealt with as a statutory nuisance.

Odour problems can be due to poorly maintained air handling units or inadequate ventilation and filtration and may indicate that the system in question requires service work or replacement parts. This also has health and safety implications as poorly installed/maintained units may present a fire risk.

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Noise & Nuisance contacts

 01246 242424

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