Shropshire Council

Frequently asked questions

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  • I am being disturbed by noise from a licenced premises e.g a pub or club. What can I do? in Noise

    Premises used for public entertainment, such as a pub or club, may require a licence from the council. If you are being disturbed by noise from a licensed premises you can report it to us. You will have to provide your name and address and as much information as you can about the noise e.g the type and time. You may also be asked to complete diary sheets to record the type of noise and how often it is happening.

  • My neighbour has a barking dog. What can I do? in Noise

    Dogs often bark as a result of boredom and/or loneliness, and the dog may be suffering from both. If it's barking when the owners are out, they may not be aware of the problem. You should try speaking to them to see if you can resolve the matter informally - see our information on noise and have a look at the advice provided in the related information section

  • My dog barks a lot. What can I do? in Noise

    You may be on the other side of the fence and have received a complaint about noise disturbance caused by your dog’s barking. If this is the case, then please have a look at our noise section and the advice given in the related information. If you need further assistance please contact us to discuss the matter.

  • How do I deal with noise from aircraft? in Noise

    Shropshire Council are not the enforcing authority for complaints regarding aircraft noise.

    For more information or to make a complaint about domestic aircraft noise, please contact the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on 020 7379 7311, or via their website.

    If you wish to make a complaint, or speak to somebody regarding noise from RAF aircraft, please contact the RAF on either 01939 250351 (and ask for extension 7572) for day flying or 01939 250351 (and ask for extension 7232) for night flying. Alternatively visit RAF Shawbury’s website for more information.

  • What can I do about a burglar alarm constantly going off in my street? in Noise

    All alarms should be fitted with a 20 minute cut-out device, if the alarm sounds for longer than this it may be faulty.

    If an alarm has been sounding for some time, say overnight, and there is no one present to shut off the device, you can contact Public Protection. We may  attend the area to witness the alarm sounding and will attempt to contact the person responsible for the alarm.

    If the noise is deemed to be a statutory nuisance, a notice will be served on the person responsible for the alarm. The council may then apply to the magistrates court to obtain a warrant to gain entry into the property in order to disable the alarm. The property will be left properly secured. Any costs incurred (i.e locksmith charges etc.) will be recharged to the owner or occupier.

  • What can I do about a car alarm constantly going off? in Noise

    Car alarms should cut out after five minutes. If an alarm has been sounding for a lot longer than this and there is no one present you can approach to request the device is shut-off, you can contact Public Protection. We will need to know the make, model, colour and location of the vehicle and its registration number.

  • My neighbour disturbs me with noise from their property - what can I do? in Noise

    In many cases the person making the noise is unaware they are causing a problem, and the issue can be resolved quite simply. Where possible we ask you to attempt to resolve the problem yourself by talking to your neighbour before contacting us - see our advice on noise for more information

  • What can I do about noise in the street? in Noise

    If this is caused by people or children shouting or playing, it may be antisocial behaviour - see our advice on reporting antisocial behaviour

    Public Protection can deal with certain noise in the street, such as noise from machinery and equipment, but not noise from moving traffic. See our noise guide for more information.

  • Can I involve the police if I have noisy neighbours? in Noise

    No – unless there is violence or threatening behaviour.

    We often work with the police to deal with neighbourhood issues, and if a noise is causing you to be concerned about the safety of someone in a property, then you should alert the police.

  • Within which hours can building work take place? in Noise

    Normally we ask for large scale building work which is likely to be noisy to be restricted to 7.30am - 6pm Monday to Friday, and 8am - 1pm on a Saturday, with no noisy building work taking place on Sundays or bank holidays.


  • My road's being dug up, making noise early in the morning. When is work like this allowed? in Noise

    There are no set times before which work such as this is prohibited unless it's already been covered by a formal notice imposed by us. Utility companies often agree times of work with us beforehand (especially if they are working overnight) but smaller contractors sometimes don’t. If you can identify who the contractor is, we may be able to request that they work with us to protect residents' amenity, and we hope that this will lead to the time of future works being agreed.

    Contractors have no legal obligation to contact us regarding likely noise before starting work. Noise in the street from vehicles, machinery or equipment (but not moving traffic) may constitute a statutory nuisance. If you are able to please speak to the builder, or the person who owns the property being worked on, first about the issue before contacting us.

  • What can be done about repair work taking place on a railway line? in Noise

    For safety reasons work can often only be carried out when the power is turned off, which happens for a few hours during the night. If you are able to please speak to the contractor first about the issue before contacting us.


  • A street light is shining into my bedroom. What can be done? in Light

    If you're having an issue with street lights then please contact our Highways department.

  • Are there any exemptions from light pollution control? in Light

    Light nuisance does not apply to artificial light from:

    • an airport
    • harbour premises
    • railway premises
    • tramway premises
    • a bus station and any associated facilities
    • a public service vehicle operating centre
    • a goods vehicle operating centre
    • a prison

    General information on light pollution can be found on the DEFRA website

  • What can be done about a smell coming from outside? in Smells, dust and fumes

    If you think the smell is gas, call the national gas emergency number on 0800 111 999 immediately.

    If the smell is from another source, such as a farmer spreading manure, and the smell is detectable on your premises, it should subside within 24 hours. If it persists you can contact us and we may investigate depending on the nature of the situation. 

  • I think the air quality in my area is making me ill. in Smells, dust and fumes

    If you're having breathing difficulties or feel your health is suffering in any way from an air quality issue then see your GP without delay. You can report an issue to us and we may investigate anything which could give rise to higher levels of pollution in your area.

  • How do I report a factory/business which has a smelly chimney or produces a bad smell? in Smells, dust and fumes

    This matter can be investigated, and action will be taken if the factory or business is found to be causing a nuisance or is in breach of environmental protection legislation. Please report this to us.

  • When is dust a nuisance? in Smells, dust and fumes

    Dust only constitutes a statutory nuisance in relation to commercial sources such as that caused by work carried out by builders on a domestic property, or work being carried out on a commercial property.

    Dust on the roads is dealt with by the Highways Department.

  • What type of drain is it? in Drainage and sewage

    There is an important distinction between drains and sewers:

    • a 'drain' is a pipe which carries foul and/or surface water from one property
    • a 'sewer' is a pipe which carries foul and/or surface water from more than one property; thus when two drains join, the pipe becomes a sewer
    • a 'lateral drain' is that part of a drain which serves a single property but which lies outside that property’s curtilage, i.e the land immediately surrounding it
    • a 'pumping station' means that part of a sewer or lateral drain which includes the rising main (the pressurised pipe that connects the pumping station with the rest of the sewer or lateral drain)

    Who is responsible for the different types of drain?


    Owners of a house are responsible for maintaining a private drain, clearing blockages and repairing any faults. However, they are only able to commission work within the private drain, they cannot commission work within a lateral drain without first contacting their water and sewerage companies for confirmation on how to proceed.


    Most sewers and lateral drains which connect to the public sewer system are the responsibility of the water and sewerage companies, they are responsible for the maintenance of these sewers and lateral drains and you should contact them if blockages or defects occur in this type of drain or sewer.

    Sewers and drains that do no connect to a public sewer, because, for example, they drain into a septic tank, are the responsibility of the owner of the house. These are referred to as private sewers and drains.

  • How can I prevent drainage problems on my property? in Drainage and sewage

    • check there is no loose brickwork in manhole chambers - loose bricks may fall and block the system
    • don't extend a house over the line of drainage pipes or manholes without taking specialist advice
    • seek Building Control advice when changing underground drainage
    • don't pour anything into the drains that will solidify and block them e.g fat, plaster, or cement
    • don't discharge toxic and flammable chemicals such as oil, petrol, paraffin, etc into the drains
    • don't try to clear blockages with anything apart from proper drainage rods. Lengths of timber, garden canes etc are not suitable and may cause further problems
    • don't put items such as paper towels, disposable nappies, incontinence pads etc down the drains
    • check where drains and sewers are before planting trees or large shrubs as the roots can penetrate the pipes and cause a major obstruction
    • when plumbing in an automatic washing machine or other appliance, make sure it discharges into the foul drains
  • How should flooding from sewage be cleaned up? in Drainage and sewage

    • remove excess liquid (pumping/sweeping, as appropriate)
    • remove any sewage debris/faecal contamination
    • leave the contaminated area to dry
    • apply a mild disinfectant (powerful disinfectants, such as strong bleach, are not necessary and may be harmful to surfaces)

    Disinfection should remove all bacteria within 24-48 hours.

  • I've been flooded - will the electrics be safe in the house? in Drainage and sewage

    If any electrical circuit or equipment has been immersed you'll need to ensure that the system is safe before using any appliances/equipment. It is best to use a qualified electrician to do this.

  • What do I need to do to prevent flooding contamination in my house/garden? in Drainage and sewage

    The following simple rules should be followed:

    • don't wipe over the disinfected areas, as this will reduce the effectiveness of the disinfectant
    • where possible windows should be opened to remove disinfectant odours
    • don't turn your heating up to dry the property during the first 48 hours as higher room temperatures may prolong the life of the bacteria
    • don't attempt to dig or rake the affected area. This will spread the contamination further into the soil or turf, where lack of sunlight and damp conditions will enhance the life of the bacteria
    • you shouldn't attempt to hose the garden down as this will saturate the ground and prolong the life of the bacteria

    What to do after you've cleaned up

    If you need to enter the affected rooms within 48 hours after the initial clean up adopt normal basic hygiene precautions, such as not touching your mouth, and washing your hands well afterwards.

    After 48 hours the bacteria in your home should have reverted to the normal background levels.

    In gardens the best treatment is to allow nature to take its course. As most contaminents will be near the surface they will have the maximum exposure to the sunlight's ultra violet (UV) radiation which is very effective in killing bacteria.

    it is not necessary to use disinfectant on your garden, as this may kill plants and do more harm than good. However, if you feel this would give you extra reassurance then a mild disinfectant can be applied.

    Hard surfaces such as paths and drives can be cleaned and disinfected. We suggest that you keep off the area for up to three hours to give the disinfectant time to work.

  • What can I do about rubbish that has been dumped on my land? in Rubbish and waste

    If you have a problem with refuse that has been dumped on your private land then it is your responsibility to remove the waste. If you find evidence of who may have dumped the waste then you can report it to us.

  • What shouldn't be burned? in Bonfires and smoke

    Never burn household rubbish, old furniture, mattresses, plastic packaging, garden or household chemicals, rubber tyres, or anything containing plastic, foam or paint. Plastics, rubber and polystyrene give off dark black smoke which is toxic and bad for the environment and for health. Try to re-use or recycle as much man made material as possible.

  • Am I allowed to burn garden waste? in Bonfires and smoke

    Occasional bonfires of this nature are permitted. However, if you're having large or regular bonfires please consider that:

    • you might cause a disturbance to your neighbours with the smoke and smell
    • if you do, we may investigate and consider action to prohibit or restrict you having bonfires

    We always advise people to use a greener way to dispose of waste, such as composting or, if this isn’t possible, you can take it to a waste recycling site where green waste alternatives are available – see our recycling and rubbish pages. We also offer a bulky waste collection service.

  • What is a smoke control area? in Bonfires and smoke

    Many parts of the UK are smoke control areas where you can’t emit smoke from a chimney unless you’re burning an authorised fuel or using exempt appliances, eg burners or stoves. You can be fined up to £1,000 if you break the rules. Find out more about smoke control areas.

  • Are there any smoke control areas in Shropshire? in Bonfires and smoke

    Yes, in Shrewsbury and Market Drayton.

  • I need some advice on japanese knotweed. Can you help? in Community and local environment

    Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica or Polygonum cuspidatum) is a non-native, invasive species of plant, introduced into the UK as an ornamental garden plant in the mid-19th Century. It has since spread across the UK, particularly along watercourses, transport routes and derelict land areas.

    Further information on identifying, handling and managing it, and other invasive plants, can be found on the UK government website.

  • What is the Safer Stronger Communities Shropshire Partnership? in Community and local environment

    The Safer Stronger Communities Partnership (Safer Shropshire Together) is the community safety partnership for Shropshire, made up of representatives from West Mercia Police, Shropshire Council, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, Clinical Commissioning Group and West Mercia Probation Trust.

    It's committed to working with communities to tackle antisocial behaviour, reinforcing that Shropshire is a safe place for people to live, work and visit.

  • Who do I report antisocial behaviour to? in Community and local environment

    The Shropshire Safer Stronger Communities Partnership has an antisocial behaviour single reporting number. By reporting the problem to 0345 678 9020 it will ensure the correct people are told about the issues.

    All calls to the single reporting line are treated in complete confidence.

    When reporting an incident of antisocial behaviour, you will be asked to provide, where possible, specific details of the incident, including:

    • details of the date and time
    • what actually happened
    • who was involved
    • whether any other people were affected by it

    If you feel there is an immediate threat or risk to life you must call 999, and the police will assess and respond appropriately to any clear emergency.

  • What is antisocial behaviour? in Community and local environment

    Antisocial behaviour can take many forms; it can be anything that causes harassment, alarm or distress, including playing loud music, graffiti, vandalism, offensive and threatening behaviour, harassment and intimidation or fly-tipping.

    This can include

    • misuse of public space, for example substance misuse, begging, drinking alcohol in the street and vehicle-related nuisance such as on-street car repairs
    • disregard for other people, for example rowdy behaviour, noise, causing a nuisance in public (such as being drunk and disorderly or urinating in the street), hoax telephone calls and not removing dog foul from public places
    • acts directed at people, such as intimidation and harassment
    • environmental damage, such as vandalism, litter and rubbish and graffiti
  • What is not antisocial behaviour? in Community and local environment

    Behaviour which is considered reasonable includes:

    • noise from children playing in appropriate places at reasonable times
    • normal living noises such as toilet flushes and doors being closed
    • DIY, unless it's at unreasonable times of the day/night
  • What are the symptoms of food poisoning? in Food safety for consumers

    Food poisoning is an illness that occurs after consuming food that has been contaminated by bacteria or viruses. The usual symptoms are diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach ache, sometimes accompanied by headache, tiredness and a high temperature.

    There is generally no treatment, but sufferers should drink plenty of fluids and take lots of rest. If symptoms persist or become severe, then a doctor should be consulted.

  • I have become ill after eating out. What should I do? in Food safety for consumers

    If you've become ill after eating at a local restaurant, you should contact your doctor, who will assess your condition and probably ask you for a stool sample, as soon as possible. This can help to confirm whether you have food poisoning, and identify the particular bacteria involved.

    Public Protection staff will need this information to be able to investigate and try to establish a link between your illness and any remaining food that can be sampled.

  • Do health and safety laws apply to me? in Health and Safety

    They apply to all businesses, however small, to both the self-employed and also employees.

  • Who administers and enforces health and safety laws? in Health and Safety

    Responsibility is split between us and the Health and Safety Executive

  • What do inspectors do? in Health and Safety

    Carry out inspections, provide guidance, and investigate complaints and accidents. If there are serious contraventions of the law, then formal action can be taken.

  • Do I need to register my business? in Health and Safety

    Employers no longer have to register the factories, offices and shops in which their employees work, however, certain other businesses may require a specific licence, e.g. skin piercers, tattooists, animal boarding establishments and horse riding establishments. Please contact us for further information.

  • What's the main legislation covering health and safety? in Health and Safety

    The principal piece of legislation is the Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974. There are also a number of regulations made under this act which deal with specific health and safety issues.

  • What are the main duties that are covered by the law? in Health and Safety

    Employers’ duties include:

    • providing safe equipment and systems of work for your employees to use
    • making sure that handling, storage, transportation and use of any articles or substances is safe
    • providing adequate information, instruction, supervision and training on health and safety matters to your employees
    • keeping the workplace well maintained, including all stairs, passages and means of access and egress
    • providing adequate and suitable toilet and welfare facilities
    • ensuring that any non-employees (customers, visitors etc) are not put at risk by your activities
    • employees must also take care of their own health and safety as well as that of other staff, customers and visitors
    • self-employed people must also take care of their own health and safety, as well as that of other customers and visitors
  • I’m starting a new business, what do I do? in Health and Safety

    Take a look at the HSE guide to Health and Safety for new businesses

  • Is there a maximum temperature allowed in a workplace? in Health and Safety

    No, but during working hours the temperature in all workplaces within a building must be reasonable.

  • Is there a minimum temperature allowed in a workplace? in Health and Safety

    Yes, the temperature in a workroom should be at least 16 degrees Celsius unless much of the work involves severe physical effort, in which case the temperature should be at least 13 degrees Celsius. These minimum temperatures may not apply in rooms, or parts of rooms, where food or other products have to be kept cold, or doors to the outside may have to be kept open.

  • Does my employer have to provide separate sanitary conveniences for male and female staff? in Health and Safety

    Separate conveniences should normally be provided unless the convenience is in a separate room, the door of which can be secured from the inside.

  • Am I entitled to a tea or lunch break? in Health and Safety

    Workers are entitled to a tea break of at least 20 minutes if they have worked for more than six hours. Young people (aged between 16 and 18) must have a 30 minute break after four and a half hours’ work.

  • Does my employer have to provide me with an eyesight test if I work with a computer screen? in Health and Safety

    Employers have a duty to ensure the provision of an appropriate eye and eyesight test at the request of a user if visual display screen use is a significant part of their normal work.

  • Can an employer charge me for providing essential personal protective equipment? in Health and Safety


  • Where can I get a health and safety poster? in Health and Safety

    Health and safety law posters (‘What You Should Know’) are available from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Suffolk, CO10 2WA, telephone 01787 881165 fax 01787 313995, or you can order online.

  • What first aid provision do I need? in Health and Safety

    The First Aid Regulations 1981 require employers to provide adequate and appropriate first aid provision for employees. There's no requirement to provide first aid equipment for members of the public. The leaflet, “First Aid at Work – Your Questions Answered” gives a guide to minimum quantities of first aid materials.

  • Do I need to provide a first aider? in Health and Safety

    Unless there are 50 employees at the premises, you're not required to provide a first aider. However, you should have an “appointed person” who is responsible for stocking the first aid box and calling an ambulance, if required.

    Where there are more than 50 employees, one first aider should be appointed in addition to the appointed person. A guide to first aid provision is given in the First Aid at Work – Your Questions Answered leaflet.

  • Do I need an accident book? in Health and Safety

    If you employ ten or more people at the same time, you're legally required (under the Social Security Claims and Payments Regulations 1979) to provide an accident book (B1510), where employees or people acting on their behalf can enter details of accidents leading to injury. Data protection law requires that personal information must be kept secure.

    If you employ fewer than ten people at the same time, it's recommended that you provide an accident book in which details are kept of all accidents which result in injury to employees (whilst at work) and others. The appropriate details to include are:

    • name and address of injured person
    • date and time of accident
    • location of accident
    • cause and nature of injury
    • name and address of person recording the details

    You can purchase an accident book from HSE books.