London Borough of Barnet

Noise

Reporting noise problems

The council has a legal duty to investigate complaints regarding noise and other nuisances such as smoke, fumes or commercial odours.

Unless the people causing the noise are potentially intimidating or threatening it is often a good idea for you to speak to your neighbours to resolve noise problems first. Involving the council may lead to bad feeling between neighbours. To minimise disputes we do not reveal complainants' details but neighbours often guess who has complained. 

During normal office hours

Telephone 020 8359 7995

Outside of normal office hours

Telephone 020 8359 2000 at the following times:

  • Wednesday 20.00 hours to Thursday 01.00 hours
  • Friday 20:00 hours to Saturday 04:00 hours
  • Saturday 10:00 hours - Sunday 04:00 hours
  • Sunday 10:00 hours - Monday 03:00 hours.

When contacting the out of hours service by telephone, there is a recorded message. Option two gives direct contact to the noise and nuisance officer. If the officer is busy and not able to answer please leave your contact details, and a description of where the nuisance is happening for officers to investigate. The times of the service may vary due to demand, which increases in the summer months.

If you are mainly disturbed during the night on days when we do not have an active service, we provide a voicemail service on 020 8359 2000. However we can only respond to these messages on the following working day. This may result in a visit or communication aimed at resolving the noise nuisance.

We are able to accept email and text complaints, but are not able to process them immediately. For a prompt response please contact the service by telephone as outlined above.

If the noise is happening at the time of your call an officer will aim to visit you or at least respond to your call within one hour.

Sound insulation

Poor sound insulation between adjoining properties is the cause of many complaints. It may make the everyday sounds of ordinary living, such as children playing, intolerable. It is a particular problem in premises that have been converted into flats. The case law makes complaints of impact noise such as footfalls, furniture moving, children playing and raised voices very difficult to prove as a formal nuisance.

Dealing with noise nuisance

Noise can be a nuisance during the day or at night. If a noise is verified and is likely to be a nuisance, the investigating officer will try to resolve the situation informally. If this informal approach is ineffective and the noise is excessive and likely to recur it is deemed to be a nuisance and a statutory notice will be served under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

If the nuisance is not stopped within the time specified in the notice, the council can and do carry out the necessary work to stop the noise. This may include taking away stereos, drum kits, amplifiers, TV's and other equipment.  The owner or occupier of the premises will then be charged for the cost of the work (including VAT) plus the council's administration costs. The owner or occupier can also be prosecuted.

Advice on minimising noise nuisance when laying laminate flooring by using acoustic underlay and sealant can be found on the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) website under the

Barnet Homes Residents

If you are a Barnet Homes resident and you are suffering from noise nuisance it may be worth contacting Barnet Homes and asking to speak to the anti-social behaviour officer for your area. They may be able to deal with noise nuisances that are not covered by legislation.

Private Action

If the Environmental Health section is unable to help with the type of noise problem that you are troubled by, it is possible for you to take private action through the court system. You would have to contact the Clerk at Barnet Magistrates Court to arrange a time to provide the necessary evidence to prove your case in accordance with S.82 of The Environmental Protection Act 1990. Further information may be available by contacting the Environmental Health Department.

Guide for the control of noise from laminate flooring surfaces.

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Public Health and Nuisance

Address:
North London Business Park (NLBP), Oakleigh Road South, London N11 1NP

Tel: 020 8359 7995

Fax: 020 8359 4156