Belfast Telegraph

Noisy neighbours sparked half of all complaints to Northern Ireland councils

By Brett Campbell

More than half of almost 23,000 nuisance complaints made to councils across Northern Ireland in a year related to excessive noise.

Noisy neighbours accounted for 56% of the 22,919 complaints made between August 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017.

Disputes over plants made up 22% of all complaints, with issues relating to light, animals and air pollution accounting for a combined 17%.

The statistics were compiled by Churchill Home Insurance.

The high volume of statutory nuisance complaints, which equates to 63 every day and almost three an hour, was 35% less than the previous year in Northern Ireland - and across the entire UK there was a reduction of 2.4%.

Churchill Home Insurance boss Martin Scott expressed concern over the number of complaints, which amounted to over half a million in all four regions of the UK.

"It is a worrying indictment of modern society that so many people are failing to take responsibility for their communities, keeping noise and other disturbances to a minimum.

"Living next to a poorly maintained property, or loud and disruptive neighbours, can not only be a harrowing ordeal but could also affect the long-term value of your home if you were to look to sell," he commented.

According to the figures obtained from over 320 councils across the UK, only 663 (5%) of the 12,835 noise complaints here resulted in a Noise Abatement Notice being issued by a council.

A breach of the notice - which gives councils power to stop or restrict the nuisance by seizing or confiscating equipment and applying to the High Court for an injunction - can result in prosecution and fines.

The statistics show that in the 12 months up to July 2017 there were a dozen breaches in Northern Ireland, with the average fine here amounting to £114 compared to £528 for the 624 breaches elsewhere in the UK.

Belfast City Council dealt with 12 breaches, the highest number of all councils.

Mr Scott warned that council enforcement of environmental regulations is "crucial" to stop the actions of inconsiderate people from blighting the lives of others.

"Living next to a noisy neighbour can be extremely debilitating and have a serious impact on the mental well-being of the victim," he said.

Northern Ireland ranked 11th out of all regions within the United Kingdom when it came to the number of statutory nuisance complaints logged in 2016/17.

London came in at number one after accounting for almost a third of the 577,563 complaints made in the same period.

It was closely followed by the South East of England where councils received 79,307 complaints about issues ranging from noise disruption to rubbish accumulation which caused a disturbance to other residents.

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph