You might want to gather evidence and provide this when you report noise nuisance.
Because noise nuisance can happen at any time of the day or night it's not always possible for one of our officers to witness the noise in person. However there are several ways you can gather evidence yourself...
A digital camera or mobile phone
Record a video or audio clip on your digital camera or phone. Recording a video may be useful when you want to record a clock to show the time that the noise is happening at, but avoid video recording persons as this could be classed as surveillance.
This evidence can then be uploaded to your computer (via email, cable attachment or SD card) and then submitted using our online noise reporting form. Keep the size of the recording as small as possible as our email system can only accept less than about 10MB for the whole email, including attachments. If you have a smart phone it’s better to use the Noise App to submit audio recordings (see below).
The file formats you can upload are jpg, bmp, gif, jpeg, tif, png, mp3, wav, aif, mid, and zip. Each noise reporting form has a 5Mb file upload size limit (this is typically between 30 seconds to one minutes worth of recording, depending on the recorded file size).
If you have a problem uploading your audio/video clip you can let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01978 292040.
Don't worry if you play your recording back on your camera/phone and it doesn't sound as you would expect it to. Typically the recording will be representative of the noise you heard when we receive it and play it back using our software.
Noise Nuisance app
We now accept noise recordings using the Noise App (available on Android and iPhones) once a complaint has first been formally registered with the Contact Centre.
The Noise App means we can receive noise complaints at any time of the day or night, allowing you to send brief noise recordings direct to investigating officers.
You must include your name and address, a phone number and the address of the property where the noise is coming from (anonymous complaints aren’t investigated). You will also need to have a description of the type of noise you’re complaining about.
We only accept ten recordings per complaint and we can block individuals from using the service if use of the app is abused.
A noise nuisance record sheet
If there’s an ongoing investigation into your noise complaint then you’re likely to need to fill in a noise nuisance record sheet. They are an essential part of noise complaint investigations as they document the detail of each incident of noise and allow you to say how the noise affects you (or your family). If you don't keep a record of noise nuisance as it happens then this vital information may be lost.
Any entries you keep can help our officers...
- To fully understand your complaint and it allows them to judge whether the noise is likely to count as a 'Statutory Nuisance'.
- To identify any patterns of when the noise is likely to occur, in case they need to visit.
The record entries could also form part of the evidence should the matter progress to court, either through our action or through you taking your own legal action.
If you don’t complete nuisance record sheets during an ongoing investigation your case may not progress.
A witness statement may also be another form of evidence you can provide (where appropriate) although this would typically only used at a later stage of investigation.
For the methods where you are using a digital camera, mobile phone or the Noise App to gather evidence, remember to only record noise when its impacts are at their worst.
Important information to know before you gather evidence
Your evidence needs to be true, to the best of your knowledge and belief. Failure to do this could lead you liable to prosecution.
When you gather evidence it’s important not to infringe human rights legislation. When filling in nuisance record sheet entries don’t include personal information. When recording audio or video evidence of noise, try to only capture evidence of the noise and don’t snoop on neighbours - record in your own house or garden without leaning over fences.
Loss of Evidence
We cannot be responsible for the loss of any evidence submitted, so remember to keep a copy.