Noise complaints

Last year, the City Council received just under a thousand complaints through its out of hours service or online. Add to this several hundred enquiries made by telephone, face to face or as part of general nuisance or anti-social behaviour complaints, and it’s not surprising that noise is the number one cause of complaint.

It has several teams who act on noise complaints:

  • the Business Regulation and Miscellaneous Licensing team deals with commercial pollution, including noise
  • the Private Sector Safety and HMO Enforcement teams deal with serious housing-related nuisance
  • the Community Response Team deals with domestic noise and low level anti-social behaviour
  • the Anti-Social Behaviour Investigation Team deals with more serious levels of anti-social behaviour.

Outside normal working hours a rota of officers from these teams provides the out of hours noise service.

There are no fixed limits for what noise levels are considered acceptable, meaning the teams need a good understanding of the legal framework around noise nuisance and the ability to make accurate sound measurements.

How to complain about noisy construction work

We now have a contact at Oxford City Council who is prepared to field all complaints from residents about unacceptable noise levels from construction work, which is particularly relevant for those living in Latimer Road.

The correct advice is for all complainants to report this to:

We are aware that the works on the Winvic Beech Road site are rushing for completion, but we need to ensure the noise levels of works are acceptable

 Unfortunately the Out of Hours service for noise doesn’t cover Sunday daytime, it primarily being a late night/early morning service – details are here:

Overall, the responsibility for regulating commercial noise comes under the Business Regulation Team and that includes noise from construction sites. There are 2 main powers – noise nuisance legislation and Section 60 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974. These may be used where the construction activity is assessed to be having an unacceptable impact on residents and where best practice is not being applied. In addition good construction companies usually approach BRT to obtain a noise consent (Section 61 of the CPA74) if they have the need to do noisy work outside “normal” hours (see web pages here: