Noise nuisance caused by alarms on a domestic property should first be notified by the complainant to the occupiers of the property involved. The Free Legal Aid Centre has prepared a guide to assist in dealing with neighbour disputes including noise nuisance.
Noise from Commercial premises
Section 107 of the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 provides local authorities with powers to compel the causer of the noise to take measures to prevent or limit noise. These powers are used by local authorities to prevent and limit noise from commercial and industrial premises within their functional areas. However this does not apply to activities controlled by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Environmental Protection Agency set noise limits for individual facilities whose activities require an Industrial or Integrated Pollution Control License. Environmental complaints, including noise nuisance complaints, in relation to a licensed facility, should be directed to the Environmental Protection Agency.
You should address complaints with regard to noise from pubs and nightclubs to the facility concerned and/or local authority concerned. You may take a case under Section 108 of the EPA Act. Alternatively a complaint may be pursued through the licencing laws (see Department of Justice & Equality).
There is no specified statutory period during which certain works e.g construction,road works, DIY etc are prohibited. A Planning Authority such as a Local Authority may attach certain conditions to individual planning permission for any development. This is undertaken on a case by case basis.
If you are encountering noise from a construction site you should, in the first instance, contact your local Planning Authority. A local authority can address the issue under Section 107 of the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992. It provides them with powers to compel action to prevent or limit noise. You can also address the issue by taking a case yourself under Section 108 of the EPA Act.
Noise in the Workplace
You can direct queries regarding noise in the workplace to the Health and Safety Authority.
Air Traffic Noise
You should direct complaints about aircraft noise to the airport authority in question or to the Department of Transport.
Road Traffic Noise
You should address complaints about local traffic noise to the relevant local authority in the first instance. For national road schemes, potential noise emissions are managed and addressed as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment process. The EIA process is undertaken by, or on behalf of, Transport Infrastructure Ireland .
European Communities (Environmental Noise) Regulations 2018 (S.I. No. 549 of 2018)
The European Communities (Environmental Noise) Regulations 2018 replace the Environmental Noise Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 140 of 2006). They transpose EU Directive 2002/49/EC relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise as amended by Commission Directive (EU) 2015/996 establishing common noise assessment methods and replacing Annex II of EU Directive 2002/49. The EU Directive aims to provide a common framework to avoid, prevent or reduce, on a prioritised basis, the harmful effects of exposure to environmental noise. For the purposes of these Regulations, environmental noise means unwanted or harmful outdoor sound created by human activities, including noise emitted by means of transport, road traffic, rail traffic, air traffic, and from sites of industrial activity including those defined in Annex I to Council Directive 96/61/EC6 concerning integrated pollution prevention and control. The types of noise not included are noise that is caused by the exposed person, noise from domestic activities, noise created by neighbours, noise at workplaces or noise inside means of transport or due to military activities in military areas.
The Regulations set out a two-stage process for addressing environmental noise. Firstly, noise must be assessed through the preparation of strategic noise maps for areas and infrastructure falling within defined criteria, e.g. large agglomerations major roads, railways and airports. Secondly, based on the results of the mapping process, the Regulations require the preparation of noise action plans for each area concerned. Every five years from the data of preparation of the noise maps and action plans, and whenever there is a major development affecting noise, the maps and plans are required to be reviewed and revised, if necessary. The fundamental objective of action plans is the prevention and reduction of environmental noise.
The Regulations designate noise-mapping bodies and action planning authorities for the making and reviewing of strategic noise maps and action plans. Primary responsibility for both noise mapping and action planning is assigned to local authorities. While a number of other bodies also have noise mapping functions, they will be carried out on behalf of the local authorities concerned.
The Regulations designate the Environmental Protection Agency as the National Authority for the purposes of the Regulations. The Agency's role includes supervisory, advisory and coordination functions in relation to both noise mapping and action planning, as well as reporting requirements for the purpose of the Directive.
The Regulations provide for strategic noise maps and action plans and revised noise maps and action plans to be made available to the general public. They also provide for public consultation on proposed action plans and the review of action plans, and for the results of public consultation to be taken into account in finalising action plans or reviews of action plans.
Details of Round 3 Noise Mapping and Noise Action Plans respectively are available at the EPA website.
Other sources of information
National Protocol for Dealing with Noise Complaints for Local Authorities
European Commission – DG Environment – Noise
European Environment Agency (EEA)