Be considerate of noise during COVID-19 pandemic
To reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and save lives most people are now confined to their home for prolonged periods. This means that we will be hearing more from our neighbours than we are used to. This may lead to frustration or annoyance with noise we do not want to hear.
Many people are working from home, children are being home schooled and others may be unwell, caring for a relative or simply feeling anxious. We should all therefore consider how our activities may impact on those around us and also be tolerant of others in this temporary situation.
Our Environmental Health team has a statutory duty to investigate noise complaints. This service remains available to residents and, whilst methods of working have changed in accordance with safety guidelines, it is still operating. If you are concerned about noise please contact us, however, it may be that understanding and patience rather than formal action or intervention by the council is appropriate at this time.
Below is some guidance on common noise problems and reducing noise, which you may find helpful.
Be considerate by keeping the volume to a reasonable level that cannot be heard outside your home. It helps to keep windows closed, the bass level down, and you could try positioning any speakers away from adjoining walls, floors and ceilings. Loud music in the garden is more likely to cause a problem to your neighbours so try and keep it at or below conversation level, or wear headphones.
It is a common misunderstanding that anyone is allowed to play their music as much and as loudly as they like up to 11pm. This is completely wrong, so don't make that mistake. Noise nuisance can be caused at any time of day or night.
Be considerate by only carrying out noisy DIY such as drilling, sawing or hammering between 9am and 6pm. Try not using noisy power tools for more than 3 hours a day, avoiding the weekend.
If you can do so whilst maintaining social distancing of a minimum of 2 metres, talk to your neighbours about the works you want to do and any parts of it that might be noisy. Most people will be understanding and accommodating. However you should be prepared to compromise if there are times that your neighbour asks you to avoid for a genuine reason.
Dogs barking is one of our main sources of complaint and this normally happens because dogs are left at home alone for long periods of time. Whilst this may be less likely at the moment, once restrictions are lifted, your dog may experience separation anxiety. Take a look at our dog barking leaflet which provides some practical steps dog owners can take to minimise dog barking and prevent noise nuisance.
The current Government restrictions on socialising mean that you should not be socialising with anyone who you don't live with, including in any outdoor areas. Any complaint concerning noise from a party or a social gathering will be investigated, as this may not only amount to a noise disturbance but also a breach of the Government's coronavirus social distancing requirements.