Advice if you are planning an activity that will make noise

Garden Noise

Planning an event like a party or barbecue? Tell you neighbours or invite them if appropriate, avoid amplified loud music and end the party or go indoors at a reasonable hour to avoid complaints of noise.

Construction Work or DIY

Building work or Do-it-yourself activities can create a lot of noise or vibration that can affect a large number of local residents, and results in many complaints per year.  We appreciate that people often have work or other commitments during the day and so the only chance they have to do building or DIY works may be in the evening and at weekends. However, this work must be done at reasonable times and should not cause nuisance to neighbours.

We strongly recommend that noisy building or DIY work is only done between Mon – Fri 8am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm, unless you have agreed other times with your neighbours.

Where we receive a complaint about noisy works we will contact the complainant in order to get details about the nature of the complaint including the times work are being carried out, the nature and frequency of works, and the type of tools being used etc. If we consider the works could be causing a nuisance we will request that steps be taken to eliminate the nuisance. 

Where our requests are ignored we can take formal action (service of notice) against the owner/occupier requiring action to abate the nuisance. If this notice is ignored the person served with the notice can be prosecuted and be fined.

If you are in any doubt about the noise being made please check this with our environmental health team:

Tel: 01444-477292



Everyone should be able to enjoy fireworks safely however others may not realise the harm and distress they are causing to local residents and animals. This is why members of the public may only use fireworks on private property, such as their back gardens, and only licensed professionals can use them in public places.

The law says you must not set off or throw fireworks (including sparklers) in the street or other public places.

You must not set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except for on:

  • Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight
  • New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am

For further advice please contact West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service or Sussex Police.

Loud Music

Our Environmental Health Team will investigate reports of loud music, contact them by calling Tel: 01444-477292 or Email: 


  • Music tastes vary so do not assume just because you like a song your neighbour will want to hear it as well.
  • With amplified sound, keep the volume down, especially the bass which can be more annoying than higher frequencies. Don’t put speakers on or close to party walls, ceilings or floors.
  • If you have a bedroom TV, keep it quiet at night, especially if your bedroom adjoins someone else’s.
  • If playing an instrument, practice where and when it will have least impact on neighbours.
  • Where possible, use headphones if listening to loud music or a loud TV.


Our Environmental Health Team investigate noise complaints regarding barking dogs or other noisy pets.

Advice for pet owners:

  • As a responsible pet owner you need to ensure that your animal does not cause a nuisance to others. Whilst barking is a natural behaviour, continual dog barking/howling is unacceptable and the behaviour needs to be addressed.
  • Dogs bark if they are lonely/unhappy, dogs can bark continuously which neighbours may find disturbing. If you have to leave your dog alone, make sure it’s well exercised and fed. Some dogs like a radio for company, or get a friend or neighbour to look in.
  • You should not leave your dog alone for long periods of time if it barks continuously.
  • Ensure you are a responsible pet owner especially if you live in a flat. Other people may be scared or not like dogs, keep them on a lead or muzzle if appropriate around communal areas and keep them under control at all times.

Dangerous dogs will be investigated by Sussex police, please see their website for more information

Dogs that are persistently out of control can be investigated by the Anti-Social Behaviour Team, please report this issue by following this link

Report anti-social behaviour

Car alarms

Noise from vehicle alarms, whether it is a car, van or motorbike etc, can cause a nuisance to neighbouring properties if sounding persistently. To prevent false alarms, follow these useful tips:

  • Have your alarm fitted by a competent installer.
  • All vehicle alarms must be fitted with a five minute cut out device, as stated in the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986.
  • Maintain your alarm in good working condition.
  • Regularly check your alarm and have any faults rectified quickly.
  • Set your alarm to a reasonable level of sensitivity to minimise false alarms.

Advice on installing air source heat pumps so noise will not cause complaints

People are increasingly installing air source heat pumps (ASHP) to help heat their properties. They provide a low carbon heating solution reducing energy bills. Switching out fossil fuels is also key to the UK’s plans to achieve net zero by 2050.

Whilst ASHP are good news for the environment, they can be noisy, giving rise to complaints.

Installation of an ASHP in a domestic premises is considered to be permitted development provided the installation complies with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme planning standards (MC20) or equivalent. The noise standard to be met at the nearest neighbour is 42dB LAeq, 5 mins. However, despite meeting this standard, it is not uncommon for ASHPs to give rise to complaints after they have been installed.

The problem is the MC20 standard does not take into account the spectral content/frequency or any tonal characteristics of the noise and uses a default background noise level of 40dB rather than a measured background level. Background noise levels during the night in more rural areas in Mid Sussex can get down to 20 dB(A) or less.

If the noise from an ASHP is causing a statutory nuisance, despite meeting the MC20 standards, the council has a duty in law to take action to try and abate the nuisance.

Ensuring your ASHP will not cause noise problems

We recommend the following to try and make sure your ASHP will not cause noise problems:

  • Install the ASHP away from neighbouring property. Noise levels reduce with distance away from a source.
  • Refer to the IOA and CIEH Professional Advice Note on Heat Pumps which gives further guidance on minimising the likelihood of noise complaints and recommends a maximum sound rating level of <35dB at any noise sensitive neighbouring premises
  • Ask your installer to undertake a noise assessment before you install the ASHP, to make sure noise levels from it will not cause a statutory nuisance to neighbours. This will take into account background noise levels, the characteristics of the noise, volume on all settings including defrost, distance from the ASHP to the nearest neighbour, and any noise barrier/mitigation present.
  • If installation of a ASHP requires planning permission and we are concerned it might cause noise problems, we will recommend the following to the Local Planning Authority,

1. The noise standard to be met

Noise resulting from the use of the ASHP shall not exceed a level of 5dB LAeq below the existing background level when measured according to British Standard BS4142:2019 (or as updated), at a point one metre external to the nearest noise sensitive premises.

2. A noise assessment is undertaken

Before the development commences (installation of the ASHP) the following shall be submitted to the Local Planning Authority:

(a) The findings of a noise survey (undertaken in accordance with BS 4142 or such other standard acceptable to the Local Planning Authority) to determine noise levels in the vicinity of the proposed development;

(b) Written details and calculations showing the likely impact of noise from the development

(c) If needed, a scheme of works or such other steps as may be necessary to minimise the effects of noise from the development;

(d) The development shall not commence until written approval of a scheme under (c) above has been given by the Local Planning Authority. All works forming part of the scheme shall be completed before the ASPH is operational.

Further advice

Please contact Environmental Health for further advice.

Tel: 01444-477292 or

Last updated: 21 August 2023