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Noise, nuisance and environmental complaints

If you have problems with noise, smells, dust, smoke or intrusive light then we may be able to help.

In order for us to carry out a full investigation we require your details and the address of the premises you wish to make a complaint about. We will also need your help to gather evidence about how the nuisance is affecting you. 

The issue must be persistent, frequent or of such an impact that it prevents you continuing with normal activities, such as regularly disturbing sleep or preventing the use of certain areas of your home.


Air pollution 


Smoke control areas


Neighbouring premises

Make a complaint



We investigate noise problems such as:

  • persistent loud music from both domestic and commercial premises
  • barking dogs
  • sounding alarms

When noise from a neighbour becomes a nuisance, we suggest you approach the neighbour first to speak with them about it. This usually resolves the problem quickly and is a better long- term solution.

  • tell the person concerned that noise coming from their property is causing a problem as they may be unaware of this
  • please ensure you are calm, fair and open when discussing problems and ask for co-operation.

Should the situation not improve after speaking with your neighbour or if you do not feel confident about approaching them directly please contact us by email to

We do not deal with complaints about roadwork noise, you should report issues with roadwork noise to Lancashire County Council

We do not deal with complaints about new road traffic noise, you should contact Highways England on 0300 123 5000.

Examples of things that have been found not to be a noise nuisance:

  • a person carrying out domestic DIY work during the day and at weekends over a few weeks
  • noise from children playing on a trampoline
  • a party that happens only a few times a year
  • footsteps from a neighbouring flat that could be heard due to poor sound insulation.


Air pollution 

You can report the following type of air pollution: 

  • smoke from bonfires and chimneys
  • emissions such as dust and gases from commercial or industrial premises
  • smoke and dust from construction or demolition sites.



You can report odour complaints and bad smells such as:

  • chemicals
  • animal or human waste
  • decaying matter
  • musty or damp smells
  • burning

We cannot deal with cooking odours from domestic properties.


Smoke control areas (SCAs)

Solid fuel burning, such as wood and coal fires, releases particulate matter and other pollutants which can harm air quality. Smoke, Burning and Air Quality are covered in more detail on our Air Quality page.

To protect air quality and the health of residents, some areas of Chorley have been designated smoke control areas, see Chorley smoke control areas map (PDF) [3MB] .

As a result of this, there is a limit on how much smoke you can release from a chimney.  You can only burn authorised fuels in an open fireplace or on an exempt appliances. View more information on smoke control areas on the GOV.UK website.

Amendments to Smoke Control Area enforcement under the Environment Act 2021 came into effect on 1st May 2022. The updated rules are available on the UK Government website, rules on Smoke Control Areas. In summary, the legislation for SCAs is:

  1. If burning a 'controlled'/'unauthorised' fuel (e.g. wood), an appropriate DEFRA approved appliance must be used Link to DEFRA approved appliances.
  2. If using other appliances (i.e. not DEFRA approved): smokeless' fuels such as anthracite, semi-anthracite, gas or low volatile steam; or approved manufactured solid fuels can be used Link to DEFRA approved fuels.
  3. Any smoke is subject to a financial penalty in a smoke control area.

If you use a log burner or stove at home look out for the government-approved 'Ready To Burn' logo when buying small bags of firewood and solid fuel briquettes. This means it has a low moisture content, so it burns more efficiently with less pollution.

View more information on  open fires and wood burning stoves (PDF) [150KB] .

There is also lots of information on the Burn Right and Ready To Burn websites.

In England you may have to pay a penalty of up to £300 if your local council decides your chimney releases too much smoke.

You can be fined up to £1,000 if you burn unauthorised fuel without an exempt appliance.

For queries on smoke control please contact us by email to



You can report light pollution if the source is unusually bright (for example, it prevents you from sleeping). We cannot take action if normal levels of artificial light shine into your property.

We advise you to speak with your neighbour first about your issue. This usually leads to a solution being reached more quickly and will help to maintain positive relations with your neighbour. You can suggest to your neighbour that they:

  • move or partially shade the light
  • fit an infra-red sensor
  • use a lower wattage bulb as they are much cheaper and more energy efficient.

If your neighbour is unwilling to make any changes after you speak to them, please report it to us by email to

Bright light from any of the following sources is protected from being classed as a nuisance so we don't get involved with:

  • railways
  • bus stations
  • public service vehicle operating centres
  • goods vehicle operating centres.

If you experience light pollution from one of the above sources, you may still be able to make a case in civil law and you should seek independent legal advice.


Neighbouring premises

Where a building or property is in a deteriorated state and is causing an impact on other properties close by, we may be able to investigate this as a nuisance premises, issues include:

  • poor maintenance causing damp in an adjoining property
  • broken foul or rainwater drainage
  • accumulations of rotting waste

We are unable to take action for overgrown gardens unless our Pest Control Contractor can provide evidence of rodent infestation resulting from the premises. View more information on pest control.


Make a complaint

You can view more information on how we how we investigate noise and nuisance complaints.

If you would like to make a complaint, please contact us by email to

Please provide your email address so that we can keep you updated and send out relevant information quickly.

When you make a complaint we will:

  • contact your neighbour to tell them that a complaint has been made and the details of the complaint
  • ask you to keep a diary so we can see when, how long, how often the nuisance occurs and how it affects your life at home- these are official witness statements that can be used in court
  • try to gather evidence (such as witness accounts and recordings) to pursue legal action if the neighbour continues to cause problems
  • serve fines if someone is found guilty of failing to comply with an Abatement Notice or Community Protection Notices, and possibly seize equipment if the problem continues

Please note that a nuisance investigation requires the gathering of robust evidence that will provide support to a criminal prosecution, therefore the weight of evidence required is significant and may take some time to collect.

We may find that after our investigation there is not enough evidence for us to take formal action. However, you may still take private action to resolve an issue that you believe is causing a nuisance. At this stage we will provide you with information that may assist you in pursuing a private action. 

Your identity

If we need to pursue legal action to resolve your noise complaint, and you are happy for us to do so, your identity may be revealed to your neighbour during legal proceedings. For example, your neighbour will have a legal right to know who made a complaint against them if they decide to appeal a Noise Abatement Notice in court. You could also be required to give evidence if the case goes to court.

Please note we do not investigate anonymous complaints because they could be malicious.

We can only investigate noise complaints where residents of Chorley are affected.


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