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.
You should direct complaints about aircraft noise to the airport authority in question or to the Department of Transport.
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 .
For national road schemes, potential noise emissions are addressed as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment process undertaken by, or on behalf of, Transport Infrastructure Ireland . Please also refer to the section on the Environmental Noise Regulations 2006.
Environmental Noise Directive
Noise exposure from transport sources and industry can lead to annoyance, stress reactions, sleep disturbance. The risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease also increases.
The Environmental Noise Directive provides for the implementation of a common approach within the EU. It aspires to avoid, prevent or reduce the harmful effects, including annoyance, due to exposure to environmental noise. In Ireland, Environmental Noise Regulation 2006, transposes the Environmental Noise Directive (END) 2002/49/EC into Irish law. The Directive sets out a two-stage process for the management of environmental noise to be repeated on a 5 year cycle;
Environmental noise as defined is the unwanted or harmful outdoor sound created by human activities. This includes noise emitted by means of transport, road traffic, rail traffic, air traffic, and from sites of industrial activity. The Regulations do not address domestic or neighbourhood noise.
The Regulations set out certain requirements for the assessment and management of environmental noise. The requirements include the preparation of strategic noise maps and action plans. However the Regulations do not set binding limit values , nor prescribe the measures for inclusion in the action plans. Such details are at the discretion of the relevant authorities.
The Environmental Protection Agency is the national authority with overall responsibility for implementation of the Regulations. It is also the national coordinator for the noise mapping process. Implementation is a matter for local authorities as well as bodies such as Transport Infrastructure Ireland, Dublin Airport Authority and Iarnród Éireann.
Noise Action Plans
Following the preparation of noise maps, the relevant Action Planning Authorities must prepare noise action plans where certain noise thresholds have been exceeded. The Directive neither sets limit values for noise exposure, nor does it prescribe measures for inclusion in the action plans.
Local Authorities design action plans to act as a means of managing environmental noise. This is achieved by controlling future noise by planned measures. These measures include land-use planning, systems engineering for traffic, traffic planning, abatement by sound-insulation and control of noise sources.
Details of Noise maps respectively are available at the EPA website.
The Dublin Agglomeration Noise Action Plan for 2013 to 2018 is available at the Dublin City Council website.
Other sources of information
National Protocol for Dealing with Noise Complaints for Local Authorities
European Commission – DG Environment – Noise
European Environment Agency (EEA)