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Reporting noise problems

Reporting Disturbances

We do not recommend you approach the noise offender, but in some cases you may be asked to keep a noise diary that may be used as evidence.

Who deals with noise and nuisance complaints?

The Southwark noise and nuisance team deals with all noise complaints, as well as other nuisances such as smells, dust, fumes and light. 

The hours of service for  the Noise Team from 5 October 2015 are as follows:

  • Starting at 7am Friday through to 2.30am on Tuesday morning
  • and then starting again at  7am through to 2.30am, the following morning  on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays

Please note there is no service available from 2.30am Christmas Day ( 25 December) till 7pm Boxing Day (26 December)

Nuisances we can deal with 

We can deal with:

  • Amplified music
  • TV
  • Parties
  • Nightclubs and pubs including people outside making noise
  • DIY home renovation
  • Construction sites
  • Barking dogs 
  • Alarms
  • Odours and fumes from commercial properties
  • Smoke 
  • Emissions and noise from works and equipment in the street

We can't deal with:

  • Traffic, trains and planes
  • Some domestic noises
  • Footsteps within homes

After reporting a disturbance

  • Officers will quickly call you back to check that the noise is still happening and to get more details from you
  • If the noise is still on officers will need to visit your property (carrying ID badges) to assess the noise
  • If the noise is a nuisance they will take action against the person causing the noise in order to stop the disturbance

Officers visiting your home

We need to show that the nuisance is disturbing you in your property and preventing what you would normally do. For example, we need to show that at night the noise would prevent the average person from sleeping. 

What is a nuisance?

A nuisance is something that would prevent the average person being able to use their property for a normal use at that time of day.

For example, at night for something to be a nuisance it would need to prevent someone from sleeping, therefore the assessment would be carried out in a bedroom.

In the daytime, the assessment would be carried out in a living room, and we would need to show that the noise is so loud that it would prevent someone from watching TV or having a conversation. 

What action can be taken 

If something is assessed as a nuisance, we can:

  1. Try to stop the nuisance and issue a warning if they do (first time only) 
  2. Serve a notice
  3. Issue a fixed penalty if the notice is breached
  4. Prosecute if the notice is breached
  5. Seize equipment if the notice is breached (usually for ongoing complaints)


All complaints are completely confidential. Even, if the person is prosecuted, it is the council that takes them to court because as an officer as witnessed the nuisance. They will not find out who has complained. 


We use the Environmental Protection Act 1990 sections 79 and 80 to deal with nuisance and the Control of Pollution Act 1974 to deal with construction sites.

What happens if the noise is not something that the council can deal with

If the noise is something that the council cannot deal with, such as footsteps, you can take your own action under s82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Please contact us for more details about this. 

Why can't you take action for people noise and footsteps?

The laws that we use do not allow us to serve notices on people for carrying out normal activities in their homes, or for poor sound insulation.

More information

  • You can contact us with any questions that you might have on the number below
  • You can ask your community council or Tenants and Residents Association to invite an officer to your next meeting so that they can answer your questions

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Contact us

Southwark Council
PO BOX 64529
London SE1P 5LX

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