Noise is considered a nuisance if continuous, repeated or loud noise is coming from a home, workplace or local business and is at times and duration that it affects the quality of life of any person.
Irish law legislates for noise pollution. The specific section of the law governing this area includes Section 108 of the Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1992 and the Environmental Protection Agency Act (Noise) Regulations 1994 (SI No 179 of 1994). 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.
The Department has issued a self-explanatory leaflet entitled ‘A Guide to the Noise Regulations’ which outlines the steps to be taken where a person is experiencing nuisance caused by noise.
Donegal County Council carries out noise monitoring at it’s own installations and also has the capacity to carryout noise monitoring on industrial sites.
It is not the policy of Donegal County Council to become involved with noise complaints between neighbours.
The Council encourages the affected person to approach the person 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, seeking an Order to deal with the noise nuisance i.e. noise so loud, so continuous, so repeated, of such pitch or duration or occurring at such times that it gives a person reasonable cause for annoyance.
Firstly a complainant must give notice to the person making the noise of the intention to make a formal complaint to the District Court and then he/she must serve a notice on the alleged offender that a complaint is being made at least 7 day in advance of the complaint being made to the Court. The District Court will hear both sides of a complaint and where it finds in favour of the complainant it can order the person or body making the noise to reduce it to a specific level, to limit it e.g. to specified times, or to stop it altogether.
Guidance on how to go about this is available from the Department of Housing, Planning, Community & Local Governement.
An Enforcement Notice can be served by Donegal County Council on any person in charge of any premises, processes or works, other than an activity controlled by the EPA. The Notice must indicate the measures to be taken to prevent or limit the noise and may specify a period within which such measures are to be taken. Failure to comply with a Notice is an offence and allows the County Council to take steps to ensure compliance.
The EPA website has comprehensive information on Noise issues and how to deal with various noise related problems. See Section on Noise Nuisance in particular if intending to take a noise complaint to the District Court.
The ENFO website give excellent and comprehensive information on the legislation pertaining to noise and noise nuisance.