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Nuisance noise from a neighbours pump power oil heating!


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I write for any advise on a way to proceed which can bring to remove the noise of a pump power oil fired boiler which has had its flue attached to an old chimney, of a party wall in a terrace, that had been capped under tiles and was resurrected.

We were told it was an air vent and realise we were hoodwinked.

That was back in 2001-2 and ever since we have complained about the noise that it makes and that has blighted out home.

The Mayor got wind of out complaints to the neighbour and the mediator he brought with him agreed the noise was indeed a nuisance, enough to feel we would need ear plugs, yet they seemed to be pre-decided nothing could be done!

I want to sue now. I have looked for legislation yet it is thin, to non existent, on the ground. Am I looking in the wrong places?

Any advice at this stage is welcome.

Many thanks Tony
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Dear Sunday driver, thanks fro the swift response!

All the below only applies to commercial set ups not private homes. I have read through and the only 'regulation' seems the police or the mayor, that I can see.

I think the police would not bother for boiler chimney noise and the mayor is taking sides with his friend next door over the obvious nuisance, so that seems a dead end at the moment.

Below is what I understand would cover it yet is only for companies noise to the public concern!

What I need is a bit of legislation which states noise for such and such above such and such get chimney noise killed!

Notwithstanding other laws and regulations, Orders in Council of State, took the advice of the National Council of noise, defined for objects that can cause noise and high for devices intended to reduce noise :

1 The requirements for allowable noise levels, conditions of use, methods of measuring noise, marking objects and devices and methods for public information;

2 The rules applicable to the manufacture, importation and marketing;

3 The procedures of approval and certification to certify their compliance with requirements relating to permissible noise levels;

4 The conditions for issuing and withdrawing the administrative authority for the accreditation of bodies responsible for issuing approvals and certification;

5 The conditions under which the administrative authority may verify or have verified by these organizations at the expense of the owner, the conformity of objects and devices to the requirements mentioned in 1 of this article.
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I seem to keep coming up with the regulations regarding domestic noise (coming under nuisance) actually being the subjective opinion of a mayor, rather than a point at it printed regulation in law. I may be wrong, yet that is how things keep seemingly reading, and the term notwithstanding seems to stand in for what should be there!?

I find solid domestic regulatory laws governing the amounts of noise, say for a bedroom in Germany, yet when I try and work back European law it seems to fall into some sort of pit when it reaches France!?

Out here in the Centre West of France I find a lot of things run on rumours of what it what. If you come across any other information you may send on, do!

Many thanks

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Below is an extract from this site: http://www.ecologie.gouv.fr/-Bruit-de-voisinage-.html

Qu’est ce que les bruits de voisinage ?

Ce sont les bruits gênants (parce qu’ils durent

longtemps, qu’ils sont très forts ou qu’ils se répètent fréquemment) ou

agressifs de la vie quotidienne, provoqués par les comportements

désinvoltes de personnes, directement ou par l’intermédiaire d’objets

bruyants ou d’animaux qu’ils possèdent.

The part that says 'directement ou par intermédaire d'objet bruyants' seems to cover your problem.

You may have to bypass the maire and go to the prefecture to find out exactly what part of legislation covers this.


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I do agree with the requirement as it stands for us, to bypass the mayor.

While, like yourself I see the logic in much of what is written I have found it best to be prepared for wild interpretations of anything subjective in France!

I did find this lot:




Habitat. New acoustic regulations (NRA). Order of 28-10-1994. Valid for buildings whose construction permits were filed from 1-1-1996. NRA amended by the decrees of 30-6-1999. The noise levels received in the housing will decrease, depending on the type of noise, 3 to 9 dB (A). Main news: laying absorbent coverings in public areas. Limitation to 35 dB (A) noise of equipment within the same housing. Attenuation at least 30 dB (A) external noise. Bed and stays: airborne sound insulation (eg TV) of 54 dB (A) instead of 51. Interior facilities (heating, ventilation, etc..): 35 dB (A) in the main room, 50 dB (A) kitchen outside: 30 dB (A) main room, 50 dB (A) room service. Tapage diurnal in the properties, residential premises and parts municipalities and their dependencies, all precautions must be taken not to disturb either the occupants or the neighborhood by noise such as those from animals, musical instruments, appliances, audio broadcasting, household or health of engines , shoes, activities or games not adapted to these places. Under Article R. 1336-7 of the Code of Public Health, any noise, its duration, its repetition and its intensity is likely to disturb the public peace is punishable by a ticket for 3rd class (450 € ). The accomplices of the crime also incur the same penalty. Additional penalty, forfeiture of what was used to commit the offense.

Difference of noise, known as emergence, between disruptive noise and noise in normal activity: core values: 5 dB (A) the day: 7 h/22 h, 3 dB (A) at night: 22 pm / 7 h, accompanied by a patch based on the cumulative duration of the particular noise. The noise level below 30 dB (A) [25 dB (A) for Paris, Order of 3-4-1989] are not held criminally.

Noise, noise at night: noise at night (between 22 pm and 7 pm) disturbing the peace of others are liable to a breach of 3rd class (450 €). The accomplices of the crime also incur the same penalty. Additional penalty possible confiscation of what has been used to commit the offense. Article 623-2 of the Penal Code is the basis for the suppression of nocturnal sounds. The courts assess damages in respect of noise based on the concept of "disadvantages normal neighborhood, subjective and open to challenge on appeal or cassation. Article 222-16 of the Penal Code considers noise as if a crime is a nuisance to disturb the peace of others, and assimilate to assault and battery (1 year in prison and 15 € 000 fine).



Acoustic regulations applicable to existing dwellings


The housing is then subjected to acoustic regulations of the Decree of June 14, 1969. This order establishes values for maximum noise floors, partition walls and equipment, but does not specify any value regarding the windows.

Here, in essence, the main provisions brought by the order.

For a broadcast sound at 80 decibels if a dwelling to 85 dB if it is a business - among other conditions relating to the emission spectrum, the noise level in each dwelling shall not exceed:

35 dB (A) in bedrooms;

38 dB (A) in kitchens, bathrooms and lavatories.

The insulation of floors, including flooring, must be such that the sound pressure level of noise received in each main room does not exceed 70 dB (A).

In the main rooms of a home, the noise generated by equipment of any building shall not exceed:

35 dB (A) in general;

30 dB (A) if an elevator, boiler, transformer, booster water, garbage disposal and installation of controlled mechanical ventilation (CMV), extraction vents included.

In the kitchen, the noise that is generated:

by any equipment shall not exceed 38 dB (A);

by installation of VMC, should not exceed 35 dB (A)

This legislation is old and no longer meets current requirements of acoustic comfort. Such housing also often give their buyers the impression that they do not comply with the rules then they are. Compliance with regulatory standards is not a guarantee of comfort, which it remains linked to the environmental sensitivity of each sound.


The circular dated August 9, 1978 (Chapter III, Section 6, Article 54) deals with additions or alterations to housing facilities whatsoever, including elevators and plumbing fixtures, garbage disposal, heating and air conditioning, water pipes, blowers and ejectors water, and television antennas subject to wind action.

This text recommends that such facilities comply with the regulations in force at the date of the change or addition. These alterations can have our doiventpas consequence of reducing the characteristics of acoustic housing. Their choice, their location and condition of installation shall be performed so as to reduce their minimum noise transmitted.


No sound regulation was then imposed on manufacturers. Even in the case of a current renovation of old building, no requirement is set to sponsor regarding the sound quality.

If you want more comfort, so you need to undertake insulation work. If you are a tenant, a negotiation with the landlord you will make him pay part or all of the costs. Financial aid is available (see Aid for insulation).

In cases of severe shortage of sound insulation, legal proceedings can show that housing is "unfit for its intended purpose" and require the owner to carry out repairs.


Plus and noise act from 1969 which gives domestic decibels! I can not put it here as its a printed page!

I have to decide what to do next i guess!

Thanks for your research most welcome!

Keep it coming!


PS. Our home is around two hundred years old!
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The best thing to do is go and do something about it.

Do you really think people here can tell you what to do?

For example if you haven't got the Maire on board you have a slim chance.

How have you cultivated him/her?

What is your contribution to the commune?

Are you regarded as someone important/rich/useful to know/ with something to offer?

How long have you been there in comparison to the offending neighbour? Do you know all their contacts and position in the village?

These issues are much more important than 'law'

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Dear Norman H

Interesting point of view. However, I was not looking for someone to tell me what to do, forgive me if that impression was given. Just the legislative position!

What difference should it make that I am regarded as someone important/rich/useful to know/ with something to offer? I am someone living here and I have a noisy neighbour, past having ears?

Again I take your point here, which is in a sub text not shown I assume however, please explain it more fully? How does this prevent or not the noise for a neighbour?

The law is the law, usually set up to obviate subjective projections is it not?
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Norman is of course right, but it is all in the presentation, sosososo, how about we start a translation service for the poor chap and rewrite his messages to make them light and friendly and fluffy? Or, ask him to perform some service as he has more knowledge of France than all of us put together. Perhaps we could get RA back to do this initially!

Norman, how about writing a short history of les étrennes, including the attitude of the Church in earlier times. After all, we are all concerned, even, no doubt, you in your barrel with sea glimpses! Could you do it in say 150 words? No translations of stick and paste please.

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On the site I previously quoted there is the following link;


This is a guide from central govenment to maires regarding noise problems and how to deal with them.

It may be useful to you to print off a copy as it gives a better understanding of the maires position in these disputes.


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Dear Woolybanana

You seem to have a advantage here of a prior list experience and I am not sure who or what you area addressing.

It seem to me to have gone adrift of my original enquiry?

I do understand the prevailing attitudes to treating people in France. I also realise i will be up against unreasonable prejudice. And, so what is new!

I actually know no other way than stand my ground and fight where needs must!

I would do it any place, has nothing to do with France or those that reside here. I see myself a European, yet this is ,as I said off topic to the original enquiry which was looking for facts not more subjective finger wagging!

Thanks for the share!

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My dear Tony,

Unfortunately, civilizing Normie is one of my self-appointed missions in life so, whenever he pops up and goes off the straight and narrow, I feel I have to thrash him back to Right Way. It is a burden, which I would like to share somehow with all the membership. My reward is in Another Place.

He is however right that much of what happens in rural France depends on who you know and how long you've been round. However, I see no harm in asking your house insurance company whether your household insurance does not give you cover to pay for a few words with an avocat, if the peaceful resolution route is not open any longer. You will probably need your own expert to evaluate the noise or a huissier.

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Thank you for the explanation!

I have hoped to avoid a debate along the lines of them and us.

I have of course heard this rhetoric before from French people and my wife. As I said, what is new!

I was obviously affronted by our mayor arriving having already made up his mind, and that of the mediator he brought with him. However, I do not wish to split my issue into discriminatory thinking of the kind which has passed as truth, where in fact it is corruption!

I have (we) a annex of our house policy which covers legal enquiry linked to our home, thank you for flagging it to me!

My strategy is to assemble the actual legislation so at least I already know the basic options in law, so when it does come to the legal visits I am not just learning on the job.

It is always helpful to have input from others and I would be a fool not to seek it as the battle lays ahead in the land which invented the word bureaucracy!

I also have a few favours to pull in from some legal friends in Paris when the time is ripe, &c.

I would however, rather the situation had not gone this way. Really the mayor sized his boot in the chicken coop and suddenly every ones Gaul got up. He has a bit of a reputation for this. His council having walked out of him and not reconvened since, I imagine for much the same reason !

Personally I am normally indifferent to all the characters in play at the moment, wishing them peace and a good life &c. I give garden produce to my Neighbour (or did) and really I feel she did not bargain on the installation making a noise which would be a nuisance to us like it is. It is very bad!

However, now she has crossed a line and knows it is making a noise which disallows the use of a part of our house and effects another, it has turned malicious!

It is also obvious that the installation was 90% installed before her builder asked if he could move some tiles on our roof for an AIR VENT utilising an existing, yet capped, like as in for at least 45 to 50 years, capped chimney. There is also an element of trying to install this without asking us in the first place. We were hoodwinked!

Expel air fine, rocket engine no, her heating herself yes, at our expense no!!

I feel peaceful routes are never really closed, just that the art of persuasion with this has now to take a keener amicable goal incentive. I do have to admit that I find my French Europeans constantly suspicious and on guard in a quick to violent way firs,t rather than a final resort. Edgy, and often resorting to how we must understand them and there way of doing it, and how they detest that of change (the ol' them and us routine)!

Although I have lived in France, but ten years here, and a couple in Paris, I have been coming to France since I was 20, so some thirty years+, never got my head fully around the language, malheureusement. Yet I find a great range of individuals, all with differing opinions here. My wife's family is a typically large one, yet not from around where we now live. So I also know people here and how they are, yet I have not lost my identity to it!

Thanks very much for your help here.

As it is a festive day, bonne fête!

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