Cirrus has always been keen to follow trends on noise nuisance. We are heavily involved in this sector, so in 2015 we launched a campaign in to dig down to local level and see what the situation was like at the grass roots.
In Yorkshire, we started with a series of Freedom of Information requests from every Local Authority in the region; asking them how many complaints they had, what were the top three complaints and how many of those resulted in court appearances or convictions.
This campaign was so successful that we continued and did the same exercise in the North West. This lead to interest from the local and regional media and our very own James Tingay getting behind the mike on more than one occasion. Fast forward into 2017 and we have turned our attention to the North East. There weren’t as many local authorities to approach this time – 12 instead of more than triple that number of their regional neighbours.
- Yorkshire Hotspots for Noise Nuisance Complaints [Infographic]
- North West Hotspots for Noise Nuisance Complaints [Infographic]
Again, we were surprised by the results, not least by the overall numbers that showed the North East is markedly quieter than either North West or Yorkshire, despite having city and urban populations across its geographical area.
North East Noise Nuisance Complaints Map [Infographic]
- LOUDEST: This time around Middlesbrough came out top of the noisy neighbour poll with 1020 complaints over the 12 months covering a population of 138,400 – the equivalent of approximately 7.3 complaints per 1,000 head
- South Tyneside came a close second with 1,027 complaints within a population of around 148,670 – the equivalent of 6.9 complaints per 1,000
- Darlington came in third with 713 complaints within a population of 105,400 or 6.7 complaints per 1,000
- QUIETEST: The quietest was Gateshead with just 379 complaints across the year in a population of 201,000 or 1.9 per 1,000 residents
The vast majority of issues logged still related to noisy neighbours, shouting or playing loud music in the home, followed by barking dogs and then licensed premises.
Noise Nuisance Complaints Leading to Convictions
Of the 12,110 complaints overall, just 4 ended up in court across the whole of the North East. The vast majority were resolved using mediation or warnings.
The total number of complaints for the whole of the North East 2016 – significantly lower than both Yorkshire and the North West where similar FIO surveys were carried out the previous years and logged 40,662 and 39,960 respectively.
So, if you want a little peace and quiet then perhaps the North East beckons with Gateshead offering a more peaceful existence than some noisier neighbourhoods nearby.
Resolving Noise Nuisance Complaints
We work with many local authorities and housing associations. We know what a difficult job they face in terms of investigating and gathering any evidence. What one person thinks is acceptable could drive someone else crazy, so noise enforcement teams have fine line to tread.
People are now much more aware of their rights and more likely to complain rather than grin and bear it. Elderly people are more likely to complain as they spend more time indoors. Also, with more homes now having wooden or laminate floors, as well as wall-mounted TVs, we are seeing more domestic complaints as there is less to insulate the noise within the home.
We have spoken to numerous noise enforcement officers over recent months who currently use our TrojanLITE and Trojan2 Noise Nuisance Recorders as part of their everyday technology arsenal for monitoring noise nuisance. With their help, we have compiled this 6 step guide to help local authorities to resolve noise nuisance complaints.
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