Is the noise excessive?

Opinions on what is noisy can vary, so the Scottish Government has set out guidelines for councils to follow. You can check noise levels yourself with a smartphone app, but these may not be totally accurate.

The guideline levels above which action may be taken are:

Daytime (7.00 - 19.00) 41 dB

Evening (19.00 - 23.00) 37 dB

Night (23.00 - 7.00) 31 dB

To give an idea of what these noise levels represent, 40dB is the sound of a refrigerator humming from two metres away.

These levels cannot be used where the background (underlying) noise level is high, e.g. town centres. In these cases, the noise  level should not exceed the background level by 10dB.

Council officers can serve a Warning Notice on the noise maker, requiring them to reduce the noise to an acceptable level within a certain period of time. It is an offence not to comply with a Warning Notice and the person can be served with a Fixed Penalty Notice or reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

The problem, however, may be lack of sound insulation rather than antisocial noise, so inspect your flats to see if there are alternative actions you can take.

Further information

Guidance on Noise Nuisance Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004

Sound Advice on Noise - Don't suffer in silence (archived publication, information may be out of date)