The theme of Noise Action Week 2015 (18-23 May) is reducing the impact of noise in our neighbourhoods. Community Safety Officer Mel Serghides explains why we're supporting the week-long initiative.

We all hear noise from neighbours from time to time – it’s part of everyday life and keeps our neighbourhoods vibrant. However, too much noise in the wrong place at the wrong time can cause friction between neighbours and can be harmful to health.

The most common definition of noise is "unwanted sound". A sound might be unwanted because it is loud, unpleasant or annoying, intrusive or distracting. This includes: loud music or television noise, barking dogs, noise from vehicles or machinery, alarms, DIY, "people noise" — such as slamming doors, shouting and walking on hard flooring.

Government research produced last year shows we are now more affected by the most commonly heard sources of noise than we were in 2000.

We provide a home for around 1 in 100 Londoners. We take reports of noise problems seriously and have duties and powers which allow us to deal efficiently with reports of noise that affect our residents. If we assess a noise as being unreasonable, we can:

  • Offer a mediation service to help you and the person making the noise (the perpetrator) reach a mutually acceptable and agreed resolution
  • Use a range of methods to encourage the perpetrator to change their behaviour (warning letters, acceptable behaviour contracts)
  • Work with the police and local authority to issue notices, seize any equipment and/or prosecute if a notice is breached.

We have produced guidance for residents and have also developed a noise nuisance procedure to help us investigate reports of noise nuisance.  As a member of Peabody’s specialist Community Safety Team, I’m currently studying for a noise qualification — the Certificate of Competence in Environmental Noise Measurement — to help us deal with cases more effectively.

During Noise Action Week, we’re encouraging residents to consider how they can avoid causing noise disturbance at home, and providing advice and guidance on the noise-related services available.           

Find out more by reading our Noise Nuisance Booklet.