Noise pollution

What are the main types of noise that the council deals with?

The types of noise, which people frequently complain about, can be divided into three distinct types:

Domestic noise

This includes loud music, barking dogs, burglar alarms and late-night parties.

Commercial noise

This includes factory noise, fan noise, chiller noise, delivery noise, construction site noise and music from pubs and clubs.

Noise in streets

This includes car alarms, ice cream chimes, machinery operating in the road and the use of loudspeakers - but excludes traffic. 

We have powers to deal with all of the above noise complaints. There are some additional noise controls that can help to stop or reduce noise from particular sources, e.g. loudspeakers in the street, construction sites and night-time noise. In addition, members of the public can participate at the planning stage to reduce noise at source.

What steps can I take if noise is upsetting my life?

If you are concerned about the noise coming from a neighbour's home, a local business or manufacturer, or noise from stationery vehicles or equipment in the street, often the best way to deal with the problem is to go to the source

  • Consider talking to the person or company responsible for the noise and point out the problem. You may find they are unaware that they are disturbing you.
  • When informal action is not possible or fails, you can attempt to resolve the problem by seeking a more formal route. This usually involves making a complaint to the council.

We are required to take reasonable steps to investigate complaints.

How do I make a complaint about noise?

You can make a complaint about noise by contacting Regulatory Services 0300 330 7000 or emailing [email protected]. You will need to let us know where the noise is coming from; e.g. if you report noise from a party we will need the address. If you ring out-of-hours the complaint will be dealt with on the next working day.

Under what circumstances will the council serve an abatement notice?

Like you, we may try to resolve the problem informally. An officer from the Environmental Protection Team will contact you and explain what steps will be taken. In most cases you will be asked to keep a diary of times and dates when you are affected by noise and to return the diary if the situation does not improve. We will contact the person you believe is responsible for the noise but will not give them your details.

Many cases are resolved by this informal action; however, if this fails and we are satisfied that the noise amounts to a statutory nuisance, we will serve an abatement notice. If the source is domestic it may require the noise to be stopped altogether; if the source is commercial, works may be required to eliminate or reduce the noise or the noise may be limited to certain times of the day. 

What additional noise problems can the council control?


We have powers to deal with loudspeakers in the street.

Noise from construction sites

To help minimise the noise pollution caused by necessary construction and demolition works, we have the power to specify the way in which the work must be carried out, including the hours of work.

Noise from road vehicles

Certain types of noise may constitute an offence under road traffic law, e.g. sounding a motor horn at certain times on restricted roads.

If you are subject to increased traffic noise due to new roads or altered traffic schemes you may be entitled to compensation or assistance toward sound insulation. You should contact Northamptonshire County Council or the Highways Agency for further advice.

Anti-social behaviour and noise

Noise complaints that are most likely to fall into this category include deliberate banging of doors or walls, children or parents shouting or screaming, or people slamming doors. It can even extend to verbal harassment.

This type of noise can be dealt with as either a 'normal' noise nuisance complaint or more serious anti-social behaviour. Our Environmental Protection Team can advise you as how best to deal with this issue.

Road construction noise and traffic noise insulation

Further information on the insulation of dwellings against noise from the construction or use of new or altered roads is available from:

The Highways Agency,
[email protected]