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Tips on reducing noise

Everyone's interpretation of what consitutes a noise nuisance is different, so it can be difficult to address. The actual loudness of noise may not be a problem. It's usually the time and place, the duration and the source of the sound, and whether the listener has any control over it.

Being a considerate neighbour

We can all do our bit in helping to reduce noise nuisance to others. Of course, some noise is unavoidable but there are lots of simple ways to avoid disturbing others:

  1. try to site noisy household equipment such as washing machines and dishwashers away from partition walls or place them on a carpet or rubber mat to reduce vibration

  2. try to reduce the effect of noise from your TV and stereo by moving them away from your neighbours' walls. If you live in a flat with a neighbour beneath you, raise your TV and stereo off the floor

  3. try to always keep the volume of your TV, radio and music as low as possible, especially late at night. Set your hi-fi bass control at a low level - the bass beat can be particularly irritating

  4. if you like your music loud, use headphones. But be careful - if you cannot hear other people talking when you are wearing headphones you could be deafening yourself

  5. if you like loud music in your car, keep the windows closed so as not to annoy others

  6. when carrying out DIY work, try to do the noisiest jobs during the day. Keep the evening for quieter work such as painting and decorating

  7. carry out noisy activities - such as mowing the lawn, using power tools or playing musical instruments - at a reasonable time and not early in the morning or late in the evening when the noise could be most annoying

  8. try to carry out unavoidable noisy activities in sociable hours - between 8am and 7pm weekdays and between 10am and 5pm Saturday and Sundays (as defined by the National Society for Clean Air and Environmental Protection)

  9. if you own a dog, train it not to bark unnecessarily. Never leave your dog alone for long periods - ask a friend to exercise it during your absence. In law, a barking dog can be a noise nuisance and you could be prosecuted if you do nothing to stop it

  10. if you're a car or motorcycle driver, always drive quietly in built up areas. Try not to drive or brake fiercely

  11. try to avoid revving your car or motorcycle unnecessarily. Try and keep the silencer in good condition and only use your horn in an emergency. Remember, it is illegal to sound a car horn between the hours of 11.30 pm and 7.00 am and anytime when the vehicle is stationary unless it's an emergency

  12. if you are using a taxi or minicab early in the morning or late at night, ask the driver to announce his arrival by knocking on your door or phoning beforehand, rather than sounding the horn

  13. if you have a house / car alarm, give a spare key to someone who can be contacted if it goes off while you're away. Keep it well maintained regularly so that it doesn't go off accidentally

  14. when you buy new household appliances, such as a washing machine, choose the quietest models. This will encourage manufacturers to make more

  15. warn your neighbours if you are going to make unavoidable noise, such as holding a party or doing DIY

  16. if a neighbour is creating a noise, try talking to them and politely explaining the problem. People are often very happy to reduce the noise once they realise it is causing others a problem. Interestingly, people usually feel less disturbed by nuisance noise if they feel they have some control over it

  17. if talking to your neighbour(s) doesn't work and the noise persists, you could try involving the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)  or contacting Health Protection for advice

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