Private action against a noise nuisance

Anyone affected by a statutory nuisance has the right, under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA1990), to make a complaint directly to the Magistrates' Court.

The following steps should be taken to pursue this action:

  • Write to the person making the noise stating that unless the noise is stopped by a given time period (eg two weeks) you will complain to the Magistrates' Court and keep a copy of the letter
  • If this letter is ignored by the alleged perpetrator, contact the Justices' Clerk's office at your local Magistrates' Court, using the contact details below, explaining that you wish to make a complaint under Section 82 of the EPA1990
  • A date will be set for the hearing and the person considered responsible for the noise will be summoned to court
  • In court, you will have to give evidence and explain your problem

You must:

  • Give at least three days notice to the person making the noise of your intention to complain to the Magistrates' Court
  • Provide this notice by hand or by post
  • Keep a detailed diary of noisy events (you can download a noise diary form below)
  • Prove to the magistrate, beyond reasonable doubt, that the noise you are complaining about amounts to a nuisance

If you case is proven the court will have power to:

  • Make an order to require the nuisance to be stopped and/or stop the nuisance happening again
  • Impose a fine on the defendant (currently up to £5,000)
  • Take further court action if the order is ignored

If you fail to prove your case you may have to pay some of the defendant's expenses in coming to court.
Who to contact

  • Wycombe Magistrates' Court: 01494 651 010
  • Aylesbury and Amersham Magistrates' Court: 01296 436 441 (For properties in the parishes of Lacey Green, Great and Little Hampden, Ellesborough, Little Kimble, Princes Risborough, Longwick-cum-llmer and the northern part of Bledlow-cum-Saunderton ie Bledlow not Bledlow Ridge)