What is Environmental Noise?
Environmental noise is unwanted or harmful outdoor sound created by activities, including noise emitted by means of transport, road traffic, rail traffic, air traffic, from sites of industrial activity and recreational activities.
Noise is generally regarded as a “nuisance” if it is so loud, so repeated, of such pitch or of such duration that it causes annoyance to the general public.
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.
Excessive noise can:
- seriously harm human health, including mental health
- interfere with people’s daily activities at school, at work, at home & during leisure time
- disrupt sleep, cause cardiovascular and psychophysiological effects
- lower performance, lead to annoyance responses and changes in social behaviour
The specific section of Irish law governing the area of Noise includes Section 106, 107 & 108 of the Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1992.
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.
Additional guidance is provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and as contained within Kildare County Council’s Third Noise Action Plan (2019-2023).
Kildare County Council Noise Action Plan 2019-2023
Kildare County Council’s Third Noise Action Plan (2019-2023) has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the European Communities Environmental Noise Regulations 2018, S.I. No. 549 / 2018 in place of the revoked Environmental Noise Regulations 2006, S.I. No. 140 / 2006. These Regulations give effect to the EU Directive 2002/49/EC relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise.
The aim of the document is to provide an overview of the requirements of the Regulations, to review the results of the strategic noise mapping within Kildare County Council, (as set out in Section 5 of the plan), and to set out an approach to the strategic management and control of environmental noise over prescribed period of the plan.
The objectives of the Noise Action Plan are to avoid, prevent and reduce on a prioritised basis, where necessary, the harmful effects due to long term exposure to environmental noise. This can be achieved by taking a strategic approach to managing environmental noise and following a balanced approach in the context of sustainable development.
Dealing with Noise related issues
Kildare County Council’s, Environment Department, will deal with noise complaints from commercial and industrial activities but will not get involved with noise complaints between neighbours / domestic cases. Such noise complaints from commercial and industrial activities should be made to Kildare County Council’s Environment Department through the Customer Services Department.
It should be noted that Kildare County Council will not, in general, investigate noise-nuisance complaints which are received anonymously. This is due to the inherent difficulty in identifying and assessing the impact in such cases but each report shall be reviewed and considered by Technical staff.
Kildare County Council encourages the affected parties to approach the person or body 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 and by using the form as specified under Environmental Protection Agency Act (Noise) Regulations 1994 (SI No 179 of 1994).
Guidance on how to go about this is available through the website of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. Additional information is also available on the Ask about Ireland- enfo website.
Types of noise complaints that will be dealt with and those that may not be dealt with by Kildare County Council
In general, the following noise complaints should be logged with Kildare County Council’s Environment Section:
- Noise from plant operations at a Commercial / Industrial premise
- Noise from public houses/hotels/nightclubs
- Noise from construction sites
- Wind Turbines
- Gardening machinery
- Retail deliveries
- Noise from Outdoor Events
- Crow Bangers
Noise complaints relating to other Council Sections
- Traffic and Transport related Noise will be referred to the Roads Department
- Noise arising from Local Authority rental properties is dealt with by the Housing Department under the terms of the relevant tenancy agreement.
- Where hours of work (e.g. On construction sites) specifically conditioned at planning permission stage are not being adhered to, the matter will be therefore referred to the Planning Enforcement Section of Kildare County Council.
The following noise complaints should not be reported to Kildare County Council and guidance should be sought instead from the EPA website or as noted below.
- General domestic, internal noise in houses/apartments, house-parties, 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 premise 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 who are responsible for dealing with noise from aircrafts.
Noise Nuisance due to Barking Dogs
Section 25 of the Control of Dogs Act 1986 deals with the issue of nuisance due to barking dogs. Under Section 25 of this act a decision as to whether any case of dog barking constitutes a nuisance is an issue for the District Court to adjudicate on.
An individual wishing to make a complaint to the district court regarding barking dogs can download the relevant form. (Please note that Form 5 (relevant form) is located at the end of the document below)
For further advice on properly serving this notice as required under Act, please contact the local district court office www.courts.ie.
Useful Additional information:
Please Note: This page is a guide only. It does not purport to provide, and should not be relied upon as, a legal interpretation of the Regulations. Kildare County Council advises you to read the Regulations in full.