Noise, nuisance and anti-social behaviour

Noise and nuisance reports are usually investigated by the Environmental Protection Team. Please note that we are unable to take anonymous complaints, but your personal details are kept confidential.

Councils have legal powers to investigate issues that could be considered a nuisance or antisocial behaviour. The issue could be classed as a nuisance if it affects you:

  • at your home or business,
  • on a repeated basis.

For most situations we recommend you speak to your neighbours to try to resolve the issue first. If this does not improve the situation, or is not possible, then we may be able to help.

Noise from alarms

If you suspect that there’s been a crime, phone Sussex Police. If there’s a fire, contact West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.

It can take some time for us to deal with a noisy car or house alarm so please try not to leave it until late in the day to report it.

Please make sure you leave a contact number so that we can contact you directly about the situation. We will try our best to deal with it on the same day, but this will not always be possible, especially if it is reported after lunch-time or if we need to obtain an entry warrant from the magistrates’ court.

To report an alarm sounding please call 01444 477292 or use the button below.

Report a noise issue

What can I report?

You can report

  • Noise from premises or from vehicles, equipment or machinery in the street but not from vehicles driving on the highway
  • Smoke from premises such as regular/frequent bonfires
  • Dust or smells from commercial premises
  • Artificial light from premises such as external security lights
  • Insect infestations from commercial premises
  • Accumulations on premises (for example piles of rubbish rotting or attracting vermin)
  • Premises with substantial numbers of rats or mice

You can't report

  • Smells from dwellings – unless caused by an accumulation
  • Street lights – please contact WSCC
  • Road traffic, aircraft or railway noise
  • One-off situations unless they are affecting a large number of households
  • Reasonable everyday activities such a vacuuming or using the washing machine.

What happens after I make a complaint?

This depends on the type of complaint and the individual circumstances:

  • We may suggest contacting the West Sussex Mediation Service. Trained mediators can help to resolve a variety of disagreements and misunderstandings between people. West Sussex Mediation Service – Working for Agreement 
  • We may ask you to complete diary sheets
  • We may contact the people you have complained about
  • We may visit to see or hear the situation for ourselves
  • We will try to resolve the case without legal action first
  • We may take enforcement action such as an Abatement Notice or a Community Protection Warning
  • We will not identify you to the person you have complained about unless you agree for us to do so

What if no action is taken?

If the council decides no action can be taken, you can try:

  • Discussing the situation with your neighbours to try and reach an agreement.
  • Taking your own legal action – please download our Section 82 pack for details here.

It is not usually possible to investigate under nuisance law if the cause is poor sound insulation between the properties or the noise is classed as everyday noise. The law courts have already made a ruling and set a precedent on this issue, please see the following link for more information:

Last updated: 04 January 2024