Noisy neighbours sparked half of all complaints to Northern Ireland councils

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.

Source: Belfast Telegraph

National Protocol for Dealing with Noise Complaints for Local Authorities

EPA Review
It has been recognised for some years that there is a need for a more integrated approach to addressing noise issues in Ireland. While the current legal provisions governing this area have been in place since 1992, it has become increasingly clear that there is significant variation in how local authorities approach interpreting and implementing these provisions. Following extensive consultation and discussion the EPA carried out a review of how Local Authorities were dealing with noise complaints in June 2013. The review concluded that various different approaches were being used with over 80% agreeing that a common consistent approach across Local Authorities is required.

One of the recommendations arising out of the review was the establishment of a noise working group within the NIECE network, to progress the development of a national approach. A Noise Bill was originally proposed in 2006 to deal with a number of noise sources including neighbourhood noise. Whilst the Bill has not been enacted to date, it remained on subsequent programmes for government. While not included in the current programme for government, in the absence of a comprehensive Noise Bill, this document provides the necessary guidance to Local Authorities, given existing legislation, as to what is considered Best Practice for dealing with noise complaints.

 

To read the National Protocol, please click on the image below:

NIECE

Noise complaints at Dublin Airport increased by almost a fifth in 2017

Noise complaints at Dublin Airport increased by a whopping 19% last year.

Figures published by the airport showed 1,194 reports of excessive noise from airplane landing and take-offs.

This was a massive jump from the 1,003 complaints made in 2016.

The reason for the stark rise is down to more use of the second runway at the airport.

According to the Times, the second runway was used more at night while the main runway was being upgraded.

An airport spokesman told the paper that flight paths and landing approaches took jets over more populated areas when using the second runway.

The daa reportedly traced two thirds of the complaints to the use of the second runway, with most being linked to when a southern approach was used.

The spokesman said: “The vast majority of these were due to night work on the main runway’s overlay project and its subsequent non-availability for flight operations.

“While the number of flight movements at Dublin has increased in recent years, the advent of new, quieter, aircraft types has brought substantial reductions in aircraft noise.”

The number of complaints on the main runway fell by 44 %.

The daa figures also show that the 1,194 complains were lodged by just 423 people.

A noise and flight track monitoring system costing €1million has been introduced to ensure minimum noise disruption.

Source: Dublin Live.