What advice can the council give to a commercial premises that has received a noise complaint?

By pro-actively introducing considerate neighbour-based noise controls the likelihood of your business receiving complaints should be reduced. Benefits for businesses who operate in this way include:

However, if you do receive a noise complaint, we encourage you to act on feedback from the local community in a positive and professional manner. Complaint management should be seen as an extension of your overall customer service and general points to consider include:

Noise can be an emotive subject. Try to keep calm when dealing with the complainant and carrying out any investigation. The object is to move away from confrontational approaches, as they are ineffective and can quite often inflame the situation.

Take responsibility for the complaint. Let the complainant know who will be dealing with their complaint and when they can expect to hear back and retain records of relevant details. Keep the complainant informed of your action and explain any delays.

Carry out your own investigation so you get to understand the complaint. For example, is the new refrigeration unit noisy late at night? Try listening late at night from near the boundary of your premises.

The response times to complaints needs to be reasonable and proportionate. For example, if the disturbance is affecting a residents sleep, then your response needs to be immediate. Longer response times can be given for lesser disturbances.

It is good practice to have a written procedure for dealing with complaints, even if you are a small business. It's important staff are made aware of the procedure and understand their role.