Report noise nuisance

If a loud noise happens a lot, goes on for a long time or interferes with your normal activities, this is classed as a noise nuisance. There are different options for reporting the issue but, unfortunately, there is no immediate response available for dealing with reports of noise nuisance. 

The advice and the support we can offer will depend on whether the noise is coming from a privately owned property, a Council tenancy or a commercial property.

We would always recommend taking an informal approach with your neighbour or local business first.

Advice on dealing with noise nuisance

Council tenants

If you are a Council tenant or you believe the noise is coming from a Council tenancy, please report this to us. The Council Housing Service may be able to help you.

Private tenants or owner occupiers

First, try talking to the people responsible for the nuisance. Politely explain how it affects you and ask them to reduce the disturbance.

If this approach doesn't work, then make a note of the fact that you have approached the person and the date and their response. Then put your complaint in writing to your neighbour in polite terms, again requesting a reduction in disturbance.

You should allow at least 2 weeks for your neighbour to consider your request and take action. Copies of any letters should be kept for future reference.


If your informal approach fails or you feel that you cannot approach your neighbours directly, MESH, the Sheffield Community Mediation Service can help you. The service is designed to assist neighbours to resolve conflicts, it is free, impartial, independent and confidential, and it has a good track record of success.

Commercial noise

If you’re experiencing excessive noise form a commercial property (such as a pub, club, restaurant or cafe) you can report it to us.

Excessive noise can come from:

  • amplified music, loud speakers, TVs
  • externally mounted air conditioning and air extraction units
  • beer gardens, children’s play areas and customers in outside areas
  • deliveries, cleaning and recycling

What we can do

We’ll work with the business to improve the situation or, if need, we can use Statutory Nuisance powers. We can also work with other Council departments such as Licensing and Building Standards to control noise pollution.

Taking formal action

The law allows formal action to be taken, either by a local authority or by an individual person, to deal with a statutory nuisance. However, before deciding that formal action is appropriate, you should ask yourself whether or not you are prepared to appear in court.

What we will do to help

When you ask us to get involved with a complaint we will discuss it with you. It is likely that we will ask you to provide us with a record of the nuisance about which you are complaining.

To help you we have provided a blank log sheet to download. This can be filled in for a period covering a reasonable number of incidents and then returned either by post or email.

It is helpful if at least one other person, preferably from another household, also completes a noise log sheet and questionnaire which can be used to corroborate your evidence. 

When the logs and questionnaire are returned, they will be considered and we will decide what action, if any, is appropriate to proceed with the case. Then we will make the necessary arrangements to investigate.

This investigation may include:

  • visits to your property
  • taking formal statements from witnesses
  • interviewing the person responsible for the alleged nuisance
  • if Statutory Nuisance is occurring, serving legal notice on the person responsible
  • monitoring whether the notice is being complied with (this will involve further record keeping by you and the taking of further witness statements)
  • if appropriate, prosecution


You will be given the name of the officer dealing with your case, and you will be kept informed of its progress.

If we feel that we are unable to support your complaint, or if you do not want to use our services, you can take your own legal action.

Taking legal action

This can be a complicated and expensive process. If we decide to take a case on your behalf, then there will be no costs to yourself and you will be guided through the process by one of our officers.

You may decide to take action in either the Civil or Criminal Courts. All action by ourselves is undertaken in the Criminal Courts. Civil proceedings for nuisance are not a matter for us and you should seek separate legal advice if considering a Civil nuisance action.

If you decide you are prepared to take your complaint to the Magistrates Court, you will need to collect evidence in support. You can do this by making notes using the questionnaire and keeping a record on the log sheet.

As mentioned before, your case will be much stronger if you can get other witnesses who are prepared to keep similar records and appear in Court.

Court hearings

If you are employing a solicitor, he or she will arrange to get your case heard at court. However, you may make a complaint without using a solicitor by carrying out the following procedure.

First of all, you must give the person about whom you are complaining 3 days' notice of your intention to make a complaint.

Download Form A - Intention to Make a Complaint to do this, and keep a copy for yourself.

After 3 days have passed complete 2 copies of Form B - Complaint Form, take one copy to the Magistrates Court and keep the other copy for your own use.

You can attend the court for this purpose on Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 9.15am and 9.40am, but you must report to the General Office on the third floor at 9am first.

When it's your turn to see the Magistrates, they will look at your completed form and will ask you some questions about the nature of your complaint eg

  • your name and address
  • your telephone number
  • the address where the nuisance is coming from
  • the name of person(s) causing the nuisance
  • when you first experienced the problem
  • how often the nuisance occurs
  • have you complained to the person causing the problem and if so what was his/her response
  • what evidence of nuisance you have
  • what other witnesses there are


If the Magistrates are satisfied that your complaint is a reasonable one, your form will be signed and the court will arrange a hearing, for a future date, at which the defendant (the person you are complaining about) will be summoned to appear.

At the hearing

The court will listen to details of your complaint and hear what the defendant has to say in reply. They will hear evidence from you and your witnesses (if any) and the defence.

The Magistrates will then decide whether or not a noise nuisance exists or is likely to recur. If they decide that a nuisance does exist (or has existed - but may recur in the future), then they will make a Nuisance Order which requires the defendant to stop causing the nuisance within a stated time and/or prevent the recurrence of the nuisance.

They may also fine the defendants at this time. If the Magistrates decide that your case has not been proved they will dismiss the proceedings and may award costs against you.

If the nuisance continues

If, after an Order has been made, the nuisance continues, you should make careful notes of the dates, times etc of the nuisance, as you did before, and report it to the Magistrates Court.

Solicitors and costs

You do not have to employ a solicitor to take action under the Environmental Protection Act. There are, however, a number of rules to be followed. Solicitors are trained in applying these rules and if you are not represented you may have difficulties in getting all your evidence heard.

If you use a solicitor you will have to pay their fees. However, if you successfully prove your case, you can ask the court to order the defendant to pay your costs in bringing these proceedings.

It may be better for you to take a civil case to apply for an injunction or for damages, and a solicitor will be able to advise you on the best course of action and your chances of success.

If we take a case on your behalf we carry these risks for you and will bear any costs.

We can't log anonymous complaints about noise.

In order to investigate noise complaints, we need to know who the complainant is. We rely on the evidence of the complainant, and observations at the complainant's home, to evaluate whether the noise is a statutory nuisance. If we do not know who is complaining, we will not have any evidence and can't make observations.

Contact Customer Services

1 Union Street
Howden House
S1 2SH

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