Tipperary County Council, Environment Section Protocol for Dealing with Noise Complaints
What constitutes a noise complaint
Environmental noise means unwanted or harmful outdoor sound created by human activities.
Noise can generally be regarded as a “nuisance” if it is so loud, so repeated, of such pitch or of such duration that it causes annoyance to people.
Noise nuisance is categorised as being either a “private” nuisance or a “public” nuisance.
“Private nuisance” would apply where the noise in question is considered to be interfering with an individual’s enjoyment and use of their property
“Public nuisance” would apply where there is a threat to the health and/or comfort of the public/community as a whole.
Options to resolve a noise complaint
It is recommended that those affected by noise nuisance should, in the first instance, raise the matter directly with the person or body responsible for creating the noise. However, it is accepted that this may not always be possible or indeed lead to a resolution and, in those circumstances; affected parties may wish to make a complaint.
Complaints about noise nuisance should be made directly to Tipperary County Council’s Environment & Climate Action Department through Customer Services department.
Where feasible, a Noise Log should be used to report incidents of noise nuisance and the maximum amount of detail possible should be provided. This is available on the website at Noise Log
Types of noise complaints that will be dealt with and those that may not be dealt with:
The Environment & Climate Action Department, while it may act as the principle point of initial contact for the majority of noise complaints submitted, it should be noted that noise issues in certain cases are referred to the relevant section within the local authority to be dealt with e.g.
• Traffic and Transport related Noise will be referred to the Roads Department
• Planning Enforcement-Related noise issues will be dealt with by Planning section Enforcement staff
• Noise arising from Local Authority Rental properties is dealt with by the Housing Department under the terms of the relevant tenancy agreement.
Anonymous Complaints –
Tipperary County Council will not investigate or pursue noise-nuisance complaints which are received anonymously. This is due to the inherent difficulty in identifying and assessing impact in such circumstances.
Complaints Relating to Public Noise Nuisance –
Tipperary County Council will investigate and, where warranted and feasible, will pursue action up to and including enforcement action in relation to all such complaints.
Complaints Relating to Private Noise Nuisance –
There are two main categories of private noise nuisance complaints:
• Private noise nuisance arising from a commercial source (e.g. noise from a commercial or industrial premises, music from a bar etc.) – Tipperary County Council will investigate where the nuisance is deemed significant and may potentially become a threat to the wider community and, where it is deemed warranted and feasible, may pursue action up to and including enforcement action
• Private noise nuisance arising from a domestic source (e.g. house parties, loud music etc.) –Tipperary County Council will not pursue enforcement action in relation to such complaints, except in exceptional circumstances but may act as mediator in such cases but firstly encourage each party to engage to find a solution.
In determining whether noise is a nuisance, a number of factors are taken into consideration including whether it is substantial and/or unreasonable, and the locality, duration, frequency and time of the noise.
Priority will be given to the investigation of those complaints which are deemed high priority, i.e. those that may cause the greatest impact. All other complaints will be dealt with in order of receipt.
In the event that Tipperary County Council decide not to pursue enforcement action in relation to noise nuisance complaints any person(s) affected may consider taking court action themselves as provided for under The Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1992 .
A Guide to the Noise Regulations issued by the Department of Climate Action & Environment can be useful to those needing assistance and outlines the steps open to you under the law and District Courts when you are experiencing nuisance caused by noise
Examples of where Tipperary County Council will not or cannot become involved in noise complaint investigations and where alternative, more suitable avenues are available:
• Anti-social behaviour : Refer to An Garda Síochána
• Dogs barking: Refer to Section 25 of the Control of Dogs Act, 1986 which deals with nuisance by barking dogs
• Where the noise source is at a premises which is licensed by an outside agency such as the EPA etc. Refer to Specific Agency/Authority
• Aircraft Noise: Refer to The Irish Aviation Authority is responsible for dealing with noise from aircrafts.
The Noise Management protocol has been developed in accordance with the recommendations as set out in THE EPA‘s “National Protocol for Dealing with Noise Complaints for Local Authorities” (NIECE, 2016). Reference should be made to this document for specific information if required)