Nuisance Noise Definition
Noise becomes a nuisance when it is so loud, so continuous, so repeated, of such duration or pitch or occurring at such times as to give reasonable cause for annoyance. (Ref. Environmental Protection Agency (Noise) Regulations 1994.
Noise and the Law
Irish law legislates for noise pollution under the Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1992 and the Environmental Protection Agency Act (Noise) Regulations 1994 (SI No 179 of 1994). While the law does not specifically mention an exact noise level or standard that is considered illegal, it is clear that if neighbourhood noise is affecting the quality of life of a citizen, then that citizen has a right to complain.
How Offaly County Council deal with Noise Complaints
Offaly County Council will not investigate or pursue noise complaints which are received anonymously. This is due to the inherent difficulty in identifying and assessing the impact of noise in these circumstances.
Offaly County Council deal with nuisance noise complaints from commercial and industrial activities. In determining whether noise is a nuisance, a number of factors are taken into consideration including whether it is substantial and/or unreasonable, the locality, duration, frequency and time of the noise. The effect of noise on an individual is very subjective, especially what an individual might perceive to be a noise nuisance.
Where the noise nuisance is deemed significant Offaly County Council may initiate an investigation where it is warranted and feasible. In cases where Offaly county Council decide not to investigate an individual has direct recourse to bring the complaint to the District Court under Section 108 of the Environmental Protection Act 1992.
Pursuing a noise complaint
In the first instance Offaly County Council encourage the affected person approach the person causing the noise nuisance, and explain that it is a burden and try to come to a mutually acceptable solution. If this fails, the affected person can make a formal complaint to the District Court under Section 108 of the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 to seek an order to deal with the noise nuisance.
You will be required to bring evidence of the nuisance noise and your own efforts to resolve the issue at the hearing. Offaly County Council have provided a useful noise log sheet which should be used in conjunction with other supporting information such as letters to the alleged polluter, notes of discussions and any other correspondence you have that supports your claim to the hearing. The Court may order that the noise be reduced, restricted (e.g. confined to a specific time) or stopped completely.
The Department of Climate Action & Environment have issued Guide to the Noise Regulations which 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.
Pubs & Clubs
a) Complainants are advised to engage with the proprietor directly to try to resolve the issue, failing this the complaint can be brought to the Local District Court under Section 108 of the Environmental Protection Act 1992.
b) Complainants may consider objecting to the annual liquor licence renewal at the local District Court. Anyone may object to the granting of a licence on various grounds, including that the activity of the premises was not being conducted in a peaceable and orderly manner. Objections to annual renewal of liquor licences can be made by contacting the District Court.
You may find the following the information available on the Courts Service website useful: https://www.courts.ie/rules/objections-renewal-intoxicating-liquor-licences-forms-renewal-certificate-forms-renewal
A) Private residence: Complaints regarding nuisance noise arising from a private residence are essentially domestic disputes and are not within the remit of Offaly County Council. These complaints can be dealt with by bringing the complaint to a District Court hearing under Section 108 of the Environmental Protection Act 1992. A noise log sheet is a useful tool in gathering evidence for a District Court hearing.
B) Rented accommodation: Nuisance noise arising from a rented accommodation, the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 imposes minimum statutory obligations on landlords and tenants of private residential tenancies. The Act also provides for third parties who are adversely affected by a failure on the part of a landlord to enforce tenant obligations to refer a complaint to the Private Residential Tenancies Board in accordance with the procedures in the Act. All privately-rented properties must be registered with the PRTB therefore it is recommended to check if a property is registered by contacting the PRTB.
C) Nuisance noise caused by local authority tenants: The tenancy agreement is the legal basis of the relationship between the local authority and its tenants and will typically contain provisions in relation to the type of behaviour that is acceptable and that which is not. The local authority is empowered under Section 62 of the Housing Act 1966 to initiate proceedings to secure an eviction where a tenant has breached the conditions of the tenancy agreement. Please contact Offaly County Council Housing Department if you have a complaint regarding the behaviour of one of our tenants.
If you are affected by a neighbour’s dog barking, it is recommended that you speak to that neighbour about same. If you don’t get a satisfactory response from the dog owner, you must make a complaint through the District Court. Section 25 of The Control of Dogs Act 1986 deals with nuisance by barking dogs.
If you decided to pursue, it is advisable to have video footage and a record of dates and times of the disturbances – please see the sample log for your convenience: Barking Dog Noise Log.pdf (size 398.9 KB) You also must inform the dog owner of your complaint by using the prescribed form. This form is available from the District Court Office, the Environment Section in Offaly County Council, or below.
Section 25 of the Control of Dogs Act States
1. Where, on a complaint being made to the District Court by any person, it appears that a nuisance has been created as a result of excessive barking by a dog, the court may –
- order the occupier of the premises in which the dog is kept to abate the nuisance by exercising due control over the dog
- make an order limiting for such period as may be specified in the order the number of dogs to be kept by the respondent on his premises
- direct that the dog be delivered to a dog warden to be dealt with by him in accordance with the provisions of this Act as if the dog were an unwanted dog.
2. Before any person makes a complaint to the District Court in relation to a nuisance caused by the excessive barking of a dog, he shall serve notice in the prescribed form, within such time as may be specified in the notice, of his intention to make such a complaint on the occupier of the premises in which the dog is kept.
Noise Action Plan 2018 – 2023
Relating to Major Roads within County Offaly carrying more than 3,000,000 vehicle passages per year.
- Environmental Protection Agency (epa.ie)
- Health and Safety Authority (hsa.ie)
- Irelands Environment (askaboutireland.ie)
- Monitoring and Assessment: NoiseEnvironmental Protection Agency (epa.ie)
- Noise Pollution(citizensinformation.ie)
Complaints of odour nuisance are investigated where appropriate by Offaly County Council under the Air Pollution Act, 1987 Section 24(2) which states that “The occupier of any premises shall not cause or permit an emission from such premises in such a quantity, or in such a manner, as to be a nuisance.”
If you wish to make a complaint of odour nuisance please download the relevant form and send the completed form to the Environment Section, Offaly County Council, Charleville Road, Tullamore, Co. Offaly or alternatively email to email@example.com
If you wish to make a complaint about odour or noise from a treatment plant, please contact Irish Water @ 1850 278 278, web: www.water.ie, twitter: @IrishWater
Make a complaint in writing
Please download the relevant form and send the completed form to the Environment Section, Offaly County Council, Charleville Road, Tullamore, Co. Offaly.
Make a complaint by phone
Environment Section, Áras an Chontae: (057) 9357403
Environmental Hotline: 1800 242 673
Out of Hours number: 1890 750 750
To report large scale illegal dumping please contact the Dump the Dumpers line: LoCall 1850 365 121