Noise during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
As more and more of us are spending extended time at home during the pandemic we may be more aware of noise from our neighbours who are also home for longer periods and at different times.
Whilst the council can taken action against those who repeatedly make unreasonable noise that impacts on their neighbours enjoyment of their homes, there are some day to day noises that are heard due to people living in close proximity to one another. Examples would include foot steps and noise from washing machines and vacuum cleaners. In these instances it may require more understanding and patience rather than formal action or intervention by the council.
Likewise, you should also consider how activities may impact on those around you.
Some common examples of noise problems are included below along with some guidance from our Noise Team.
Some people may choose to complete those DIY tasks that they have been meaning to get around to. Whilst you may enjoy putting your time at home to good use, your neighbours will not enjoy long periods of drilling, sawing or hammering. Be considerate by only carrying out noisy DIY between 9am to 5pm and try to not to use noisy power tools for more than 3 hours a day.
You may want to catch up with your favourite box set or listen to your favourite artists. Be considerate by keeping the volume to a reasonable level that cannot be heard outside your home. It helps to keep the windows closed or use headphones.
The construction site next door or opposite your home might be finished for the day when you return home from work, but now your home during the day you might hear the work taking place on the site. Construction work is inherently noisy but as long as the site is managed well, keeps to the hours of 8am to 6pm (for noise generating work), and locates noisy activities as far away from neighbours as is reasonably practicable, they are working within the terms of the law and their planning conditions.
As the schools across London closed on 23 March for an indefinite period, you may hear your neighbour’s children playing or moving about at times when they would usually be at school. If they are asked to stay indoors as part of an isolation strategy they are more likely to be playing and moving around indoors. If you are a parent please do your best to ensure that play activities do not disturb your neighbours. If you are a neighbour hearing children, please understand that this is a difficult time for everyone and children may become restless when forced to stay indoors. This is particularly important advice when you have people living above or below you.
How we can help
The council will continue to run a Noise Line Service, but with a reduced response capacity. You can still call to report ongoing noise by calling 0208 921 8921. In many instances you will be offered advice and we will endeavour to resolve the problem by initially contacting the source of the noise in writing. We are risk assessing reports of noise and will prioritise those complaints that are impacting on more than one other neighbouring address.
Please be assured that we are keeping the service under review. We are now using the Noise App as an additional investigative tool for noise complaints and this will help manage demand during the pandemic.
The Noise App simplifies reporting and introduces the ability for users to submit their own recordings. If you have an existing noise complaint, you will be referred to the app following a technical assessment of your case. If you haven't submitted a noise complaint, you can still use the app to capture and submit noise recordings themselves, however these are only viewed once a case has had a technical assessment and been accepted by the Council.
To download the app, search for ‘The Noise App’ on Google Play or the Apple App Store.