Privacy settings

LGO logogram

Review your privacy settings

Required cookies

These cookies enable the website to function properly. You can only disable these by changing your browser preferences, but this will affect how the website performs.

View required cookies

Analytical cookies

Google Analytics cookies help us improve the performance of the website by understanding how visitors use the site.
We recommend you set these 'ON'.

View analytical cookies

In using Google Analytics, we do not collect or store personal information that could identify you (for example your name or address). We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data. Google has developed a tool to help you opt out of Google Analytics cookies.

Royal Borough of Greenwich (18 004 350)

Category : Environment and regulation > Noise

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 11 Mar 2019

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint that the Council has not responded properly to reports of a high-pitched noise in the complainant’s home. This is because there is insufficient evidence of fault by the Council.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I refer to as Mr X, complains that the Council is not taking any action about a high-pitched noise that continually disturbs him.

Back to top

The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start an investigation if we believe it is unlikely we would find fault. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

Back to top

How I considered this complaint

  1. I read the complaint and the Council’s responses. I considered the inspection reports and invited Mr X to comment on a draft of this decision.

Back to top

What I found

  1. Mr X contacted the Council many times to report a high frequency noise that he hears continuously. He says other people have heard the noise. The records state that Mr X reported that wearing a foil hood blocks out the noise.
  2. The Council has visited about five times and sent different officers. During some visits officers could not hear anything although Mr X reported that he could hear the noise. During one visit the officer could just about hear a very quiet noise.
  3. The Council used a noise machine inside Mr X’s home. The machine did not pick up any unusual or high frequency noise.
  4. Officers assessed the external area. They could not hear any noise. They noted Mr X lives in a residential area where there is no industry which could perhaps generate noise. An officer spoke to a neighbour who denied hearing any unusual noises. Officers checked for other possible noise sources.
  5. Mr X told officers he used to work with heavy duty sound equipment. In response officers suggested he may like to get his hearing checked to see if he might be suffering from tinnitus. I have not seen anything to suggest Mr X has had a hearing check.
  6. The Council told Mr X it could not take any further action because officers had not heard an unusual noise or anything that could be regarded as a statutory noise nuisance.


  1. I will not start an investigation because there is insufficient evidence of fault by the Council. The Council has done everything I would expect it to do. It has visited, used a noise machine, given advice, checked the surrounding area and spoken to neighbours. This was an appropriate response and there is nothing more I would expect it to have done. The fact that officers did not hear the noise is not an indication of fault. There is no reason to start an investigation.

Back to top

Final decision

  1. I will not start an investigation because there is insufficient evidence of fault by the Council.

Back to top

Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

Print this page