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Our noisy lockdown: Northern Ireland councils report huge surge in complaints

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Economy Minister Diane Dodds. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Economy Minister Diane Dodds. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Complaints about noisy neighbours surged in Northern Ireland during the lockdown, figures have revealed.

A total of 438 reports were received about parties, loud TV and music in 10 of our 11 council areas.

The figures, between April 1 and June 30, represent a hike of 119% on the same period in 2019.

Various factors relating to the lockdown may be linked to the spike, according to the Association of Noise Consultants (ANC).

"During the lockdown period, with travel restrictions in place, most people were at home when this wouldn't normally be the case," said Dan Sanders from ANC.

"Background noise levels were lower due to the absence of road traffic which means that sound transmission between dwellings will have been more noticeable."

He added that normal domestic behaviour may also "have altered during this challenging period".

Councils received 438 complaints about neighbour noise in Northern Ireland in the three months to June 30 - an increase of 200 compared to the same period last year.

In Ards and North Down, complaints jumped from 18 to 53 year-on-year.

The figures exclude Belfast City Council, which suspended its night-time noise complaints service in late March due to Covid-19 restrictions, and was therefore unable to provide comparative year-on-year data.

Meanwhile, loud noises coming from an electricity substation in Co Antrim have sparked concerns from local residents. NIE Network (NIEN) has said it is investigating the issue and will get it resolved in due course.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds was responding to an Assembly question from TUV MLA Jim Allister about "an upsurge in noise emissions at the Kells Main substation".

Ms Dodds said NIE Network "recognises there is an issue".

"NIEN will do all that it can to progress this as soon as possible but have indicated that it is not something that can be fixed in haste," she said.

"Given the strategic importance of the substation it is important to ensure that any solution does not compromise its operation as this could adversely impact upon the reliability of electricity supply both locally and across the wider customer base in Northern Ireland."

Belfast Telegraph