Barking dogs and other animals
Most of the complaints we receive about noisy animals are about barking dogs.
If you're having problems with a barking dog, speak to the owner first before making a formal complaint. The dog may be being left on its own for long periods of time, so your neighbour may not be aware of the problem.
If this doesn't help, email email@example.com or call 028 9027 0431 for advice from our dog warden service.
If the owner can't reduce the frequency and level of the barking, we'll carry out a formal investigation into your complaint.
This includes writing to your neighbour to advise them that we are investigating the noise.
We may also ask you to keep a diary recording the dates and times of each disturbance. This helps our officers work out the best time to hear the noise, as well as gather important evidence if legal action is required.
If we feel the noise is a nuisance we can serve the owner with a Noise Abatement Notice. This gives the owner a time limit to reduce the noise but, if it continues, they could face prosecution and a fine.
We can silence the alarm, and recover the costs from the alarm owner, if:
- it has been sounding for more than 20 minutes continuously or intermittently for more than one hour, and
- it is causing reasonable annoyance to those living or working nearby, or
- it is causing a statutory noise nuisance
Whenever possible we will try to contact the owner or a key-holder of the property to try to resolve the problem.
How to register a key-holder
You can register your details, or a key-holder's details with us for free. This means we can contact you or your key-holder if your alarm goes off and we receive a complaint about it. All key-holders must be able to be contacted by phone, live within 20 minutes travel of the property and know how the alarm works.
If we don't have any key-holder information, we may call an engineer or a locksmith to help us silence the alarm. If you are the alarm owner, you could end up being billed for this cost.
You should also tell us if your details change. This also applies to car and smoke alarms.
Register a key-holder online
If you would prefer to register as a keyholder in another format, contact the Noise Control Team by calling 028 9037 3006.
If you feel your neighbour is carrying out excessive drilling or hammering or is working at unreasonable hours, call us for advice.
If you are carrying out DIY, speak to your neighbours first. Tell them what needs to be done and how long it will take. You can minimise disturbance by carrying out the noisiest activity at reasonable times which are:
- weekdays between 7am and 7pm
- Saturday between 8am and 1pm
You should avoid carrying out noisy DIY on Sundays.
Construction works can be noisy, and builders or contractors should use practical ways to minimise noise disturbance.
In residential areas the priority is for residents to be able to sleep at night. In general therefore noisy works should be carried out during the day.
If you are a builder or contractor, read our advice for construction and demolition sites, including advice on hours of operation and noise targets.
Road works may be given permission by the Roads Service to work at night to minimise disruption to traffic and pedestrians. However, we may also impose restrictions on the times road works can be carried out. Contractors are expected to make every effort to minimise the nuisance they may cause to local residents.
Information about planned and ongoing road works is available from www.trafficwatchni.com or by calling the Roads Service (Belfast Division) on 028 9025 3000.
Advice for construction and demolition sites
Commercial and industrial
This includes noise caused by heavy machinery, air conditioning units or delivery vehicles. We can assess the noise or ask you to keep a diary recording the dates and times of each disturbance. If we are satisfied that it's causing a nuisance, we can issue the business owner with a Noise Abatement Notice. This gives the owner a time limit to reduce the noise but, if it continues, they could face prosecution.
Pubs, bars and clubs
Residents have the right to object to an entertainment licence being granted or renewed if they are being unreasonably disturbed by music from the premises or noise from patrons attending it. To object to an entertainment licence you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 028 9027 0650.
If a premise is making excessive noise we can take action under the Noise Act 1996 as amended by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011. We may serve a Warning Notice after 11pm if excessive noise is witnessed. If the person responsible doesn't comply with the warning notice, we'll take noise measurements inside your house. If our levels show that a night-time noise offence has been committed, we can issue a fine of £500 or they could face prosecution in the courts.
Vehicles, machinery and equipment
We can issue an abatement notice on the person responsible, giving a time frame to reduce or stop the noise.
If anyone is causing noise nuisance through any vehicle, machinery and equipment in the street can be fined up to £5,000. If it is an industrial trade or business premises the fine can be up to £20,000.
General traffic noise from vehicles travelling on roads is not covered by this legislation.
We have no legal power to deal with complaints about noise caused by civil or military aircrafts. This includes noise from flights in and out of George Best Belfast City Airport and any military planes, helicopters and other low-flying aircraft.
Complaints can be made to the following organisations:
- Noise complaint line (George Best Belfast City Airport) - 028 9093 5020 or www.belfastcityairport.com
- Ports and Public Transport Division (Department for Regional Development) - 028 9054 0540
- Civil Aviation Authority - 01293 573 270 or www.caa.co.uk
Types of noise problems we can't deal with
We have no legal power to deal with noise complaints about anti-social behaviour noise in the street, domestic living noises (for example, banging doors, footfall or household appliances) or fireworks. These issues should be reported to the PSNI using their non-emergency contact number, 101.