Environmental noise

Environmental noise includes noise from roads, rail, aircraft, mixed sources, industry and commerce.

High environmental noise levels are associated with various health effects. There's evidence to show noise has implications for:

  • cardiovascular health including hypertension (elevated blood pressure) and increased risk of heart attack
  • mental health
  • stress
  • sleep disturbance

Noise also causes annoyance and can affect ‘cognitive task performance’, which is the ability to perform mental tasks. In particular, this can affect learning in children.

Neighbourhood noise

We investigate complaints about neighbourhood noise and nuisance, including specific complaints about:

  • loud music
  • barking dogs and other noisy animals
  • DIY
  • construction sites
  • licensed premises
  • commercial deliveries
  • plant and other commercial noise sources

For more information, including details on how to make a complaint about neighbourhood noise, see the noise and anti-social behaviour  section.

Environmental noise sources

Further information regarding noise from road, rail and air can be found on the following pages:

Planning for noise

We control environmental noise proactively through planning the layout of public spaces and controls put on development via the planning system. Further details of planning policy and requirements are available on the Planning pages.

The planning services consult the Environmental Protection Team about:

  • planning applications that may have a significant environmental impact
  • changes to Southwark planning policy

You can find full details of noise policy and expected technical standards for all new developments in the Environmental Protection Team's technical guidance for noise (PDF, 438kb).

You can find information about conducting noise assessments during COVID19 restrictions here (PDF, 156kb)

We would also expect that the IOA’s professional practice guidance on Planning and Noise is followed for all new developments.

Guidance on construction noise

Construction sites are a common source of noise complaints. More information about construction site noise and standards for contractors and developers is available in the technical guidance for construction.

Noise from licensed premises

Pubs, clubs and other licensed premises often have conditions attached to their licenses to control noise and public nuisance.  Further details of licensed premises, copies of premises licenses and licensing policies are available in the Licences section.

Further information and education

Further sources of information on noise can be found at:

Page last updated: 12 July 2023


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