Noise Regulations

There are a number of steps you can take if you have a problem with a nuisance noise. Below is an outline of the Environmental Noise Regulations, which are available under Irish law. However, before proceeding with a complaint, you are advised to consult your local authority or seek legal advice. A guide to the regulations that govern noise can be found here.

Noise problems
covered
Neighbourhood noise problems are mainly covered by these procedures. The Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 (Noise) Regulations 1994 are designed to allow a path to the Courts by individuals or groups concerned about excessive noise.
Noises excluded from regulations Aircraft noise - to the relevant airport authority or the Irish Aviation Authority.
Barking dogs - Control of Dogs Acts 1986 & 1992.
When to take action? When a noise reaches a reasonable level to cause annoyance, you can initiate action to deal with it.
What action is open to me?

Strive to deal with the noise problem with the creator. If the problem persists, you should take the following action.

If it is rented accommodation, the landlord should be contacted. Under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 both landlords and tenants of private residential tenancies are under minimum statutory obligations. Tennants are obliged not to engage in anti-social behaviour, including persistent noise that disrupts the peaceful environment of the neighbourhood. Landlords are obliged to enforce tennant obligations.

If the source of the noise is commercial or industrial, contact your local authority or the EPA to find out if they can help. They can serve a notice in relation to these sources of noise pollution.

The last resort is to make a formal complaint to the District Court seeking an Order to deal with the nuisance.

The role of the District Court The District Court hears both sides of the case. If it finds in your favour, it can order the reduction of the noise to a specified level, limit it to specific times or to cease altogether.
Legal conditions of going to court

Certain conditions must be met that amount to a good defence in Court for the person allegedly causing the nuisance. They are:

  • The person concerned may prove they took all reasonable care to prevent or limit the noise
  • That the noise is in accordance with a licence issued under the Environment Protection Agency Act 1992 (Noise) Regulations 1994.
How do I complain to the District
Court?
  1. Consult with the Clerk of your local District Court about a date for the hearing of your case.
  2. You must inform the person concerned that you will be making a complaint to the District Court. The date for the hearing of the case must be at least seven days later than the date you inform the person or body causing the noise.
  3. You have to fill out a form and present your case in court. As a general rule, it is important to have a record of the times and dates when the noise nuisance occurred.
Cost The District Court charges a nominal fee for processing the action.
Role of the
Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA)
The EPA can take specified measures to prevent or limit the noise, under the licensing agreement. If these orders are not adhered to, the person concerned would face prosecution. The EPA may also take remedial measures itself and recover the cost from the person in charge of the source of the noise.
Local authority role Local authorities have the same powers as individuals to complain about noise problems to the District Court. Also, they have similar authority to EPA in regards to the premises, processes and works.
Penalties for breaking the law District Court -  a fine of up to €1,270 or imprisonment for up to 12 months, or both.
Specified noise
standards
No universal statutory noise standards apply in Ireland. Local authorities may specify noise standards under the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 (Noise) Regulations 1994.

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