Noise from neighbour's saw mill and a mayor who will not communicate with us!

About a year ago you gave us some advice, through Survive France regarding a problem with a neighbour.

We have been very patient, but unfortunately we have got nowhere and we are therefore hoping that you might be able to suggest something we can do.

I will try to be as brief as possible!

* We purchased our house in 2005.

* We have 3 neighbours, the nearest of whom, Mr M. is the 'problem'. Madame M. is on the village council.

* We came to live here permanently in 2010 and were shocked that a saw mill had started a couple of months previously, on a yard adjoining our garden.

* The noise from the chain saw was and still is very distressing. This is not someone cutting wood for his own use, but a regular delivery on a gigantic lorry ( see pics).

* The first year's deliveries were 'dropped' on the yard and the vibrations caused us to lose part of the barn roof.

* We must leave our windows and shutters closed during the work and even then we can hear the sawing - in summer this is particularly difficult and we certainly cannot sit outside.

* On your advice we contacted Mr M. and the mayor to point out that the noise is horrendous. We were very polite.

* We have now sent 3 letters to the mayor over a period of 18 months To date we have had no acknowledgement from either party.

* We approached the estate agent who sold us the house and he was horrified at the noise and also that our mayor was ignoring us.

* Today another delivery arrived and I attempted to talk to Mr M. about the problem. Basically he said that he had lived there for forty years and if we didn't like it we should go back to England. It was very upsetting because he really couldn't have cared less. Unfortunately moving is not an option because certainly no one would buy our house with a factory next door!

*Another neighbour is equally distressed, but says the family have always been bullies. When her grandchildren stay with her they are unable to sleep in the afternoon because of the noise.

I enclose some photos and I do so much hope that you can point us in the right direction.

The grass in the foreground of the photo of the lorry unloading is our garden and in the shot of the back of the lorry the trees are our garden and the building is where the cutting takes place.

We thought about approaching the mayor in our nearest town, or indeed the

Procureur de la Republique in la Roche sur Yon, (Vendee).

I cannot begin to explain the distress all this is causing and we hope so much that you will be able to help.

Thanks for the advice, Alexander.

At the moment we are not hearing any where near as much noise, because he has moved further away from us and is using a different type of saw, which is less noisy than the chain saw. He still has mammoth sized deliveries, but I suppose we have reached some sort of compromise. I doubt that he has permission to do what he's doing, but as they are friends of the mairie, things are unlikely to change. C'est la vie! Regards, Lorraine.

Hi Sheila,

thanks for asking.....our neighbour has been very busy re-organising his barns and we are hoping that he is going to move his activity to one of them, further away from us. Last week another lorry load arrived and so once he gets around to cutting we shall find out if its any better. Its like the sword of Damocles hanging over us! (Well a slight exaggeration really!) Will keep you up-dated. Thanks.

Hi Lorraine and everyone. Just wondering how you got on, Lorraine? Fingers crossed it has worked out ok for you.

Thanks Zoe, its obviously the same in most areas - Mairies only working for their friends. We shall persevere if it is necessary!

Thanks Terry, I've printed the info. and my letter to the prefecture is ready to go if necessary!

Thanks for the update. Yes, indeed, it is frustrating when the Mairie thinks you unimportant as an outsider. Here in Haute Savoie you literally do not get heard until your family has been here four or five generations. Not just non French people, but people from other departments also get this treatment.

If the prefecture fails you, they are always answerable to someone else, remember there are laws on noise pollution, and if it has to go to Euro court, let it go that far. The neighbour has the choice between being reasonable, or fighting tooth and nail. You have been reasonable, and he is for now, but if it gets to the point where he leaves you no choice... stick it to him.

Hi Lorraine. Glad it's quieter but you should look at this

It sets out the rules on noise pollution and tells you what to do if you have problems with a noisy neighbour. I also think you should do your research now and get all the facts in case the noise becomes intolerable again. That way you will be able to go to the prefecture or whoever deals with this with your guns loaded and firing!

Thanks for asking Alexander. About three weeks ago a massive delivery arrived and I'm afraid I 'lost it'! I was boiling, but pretty restrained and went over to say that we had had enough and that he should cut further away from us. He was a bit taken aback, but did the usual 'If you don't like the noise, go back to England'. I just continued, saying we couldn't take any more, dreading the summer, when we would have to keep the windows and shutters closed and still hear the chain saw. Well, he shrugged and walked away eventually, BUT, since then there has been no more noise! I think he is still cutting, but maybe with a much quieter saw.

I'm not naive enough to think that he won't go back at some point, but if he does our next step will be the prefecture.

I think one of the most hurtful things is being totally ignored by the mayor, as if we are not really members of the community because we are 'foreign'.

Anyway, we are enjoying some peace and quiet for the moment!

Many thanks for your support.


he seems like a good guy, to have put a fire out. Most of the people around here would stoke it up, and add fuel, lol.

Hi Zoe, I think it depends where you are. Anyway, if it really got bad I would do something about it. For the moment it's not bothering us in the summer months so I'll just keep talking to the neighbours about it. I don't want to fall out with them. One of them actually put a fire out when I told him it was bothering me, but he's back at it again. His wife was buring leaves last Sunday in the rain!! Bonkers. We have a good tip about ten minutes by car!!

I think if they're using the sawmill as a business, you might have to put up, and shut up, unless you can prove the sound exceeds the safety level, or constitutes noise pollution.

Stuart, there are strict laws regarding burning of rubbish etc, perhaps a few visits by the pompiers might sort out a burning problem in your area. We had neighbours burning all their rubbish last summer, and the msell gets into anything hanging on our clothesline. I called the fire brigade and reported a fire, they came, hosed it down, and told off the neighbour. No more fires!!

Many thanks. Terry, we will follow this one up!

Thank you for the advice, Shelley. It's all such an unnecessary nightmare, as you are also experiencing - but to stay here we must 'bite the bullet' and sort this out. We will put together a plan of action. Thanks again and good luck!

Hi Lorraine - I feel very sorry for you and can sympathise as we are currently fighting a noisy (business) neighbour. There's already plenty of good advice here, but a few things that have helped us are:

- getting all the local affected residents to sign a petition and present this to the Maire

- write to the mayor, then let the council know that you will be coming to the next council meeting. They are public and you have a right to attend though not to speak unless invited to. Ask to see copies of minutes from previous meetings following your letters of complaint - it should have been discussed - if not ask why not. Again you have a right to see the records as they are public documents, but you may have to read them in the Maire.

- contact the gendarmes. They should be able to put you in touch witha mediation service (its free!) You get a meeting with a lawyer / conciliator de justice who will look into the matter, contact the local maire and the noisey neighbour and try to find a solution. Failing that he will help you "porte plainte", basically sue the other party and/or the Maire!

Hope that helps - good luck


It might be a good idea to contact a "huissier de justice", explain your problem and get him/her to come to your place and draw up an official record of what has been done, how bad the noise is and so on. See their web site Bottom right of the home page you'll see "besoin d'un conseil". Enter your post code and it will tell you where to find your nearest huissier. You will have to pay for the service but I don't think it's a huge amount (it might be indicated somewhere on the site) and you will then have a legal document testifying to what is happening. Also click "espace particuliers" + conflits + conflits de voisinage which is precisely your situation.

Will do, thanks!

We'll do that - thanks!

Hi Lorrraine - if you go onto the Credit Agricole website it should be there or on the site it has the number of an English speaking rep. No good me giving you my one as each area is different although the assurance products are the same. I believe BNP Paribas does one too.

Good luck