Derry City and Strabane District Council have encouraged the public to be respectful and considerate after noise complaints from music, tv and parties being held in homes more than doubled in recent months compared to this time last year.
The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 gives powers to council to investigate noise which is giving rise to complaint.
Council will investigate noise complaints which may be emanating from domestic, commercial, entertainment and industrial premises, however, Council does not investigate anonymous complaints.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Brian Tierney, urged everyone to think more about how they can reduce noise pollution.
“Under the current circumstances, people are spending more time at home than ever before, and unfortunately that has led to more noise complaints being received by Council from across our district.
“After receiving information on the worrying rise of this type of noise complaint, I would strongly urge people to think of how their behaviour could be affecting their neighbours and their community.
“Whether it is keeping an eye on your pets, or avoiding playing loud music, we can all take steps in reducing noise pollution – which can take place at any time of the day or night.
“I would also ask people to bear in mind that restrictions still remain in place around social distancing and hosting gatherings in your home.
“This rise in noise complaints is something that we have to tackle head on for the benefit of everyone in our district, so I implore all to please be considerate and follow the extensive advice available.”
To report ongoing noise, you can call 028 71253253.
Data from The Noise App suggests that noise complaints in the UK have surged by more than 48% since the Covid-19 lockdown was announced. According to the data collected by The Noise App, members of the public are reporting a massive increase in unwanted noise from their neighbours. The Noise App is used by 240 local authorities and housing associations across the UK. This represents about a quarter of the UK population and provides a snapshot of what is actually going on at home since the lockdown.
Individual made 8,000 noise complaints to Dublin Airport in one year.
Source: Irish Times 4th Feb 2020
A person who protested about noise at Dublin Airport almost 8,000 times last year contributed to a 10-fold increase in complaints.
The individual accounted for more than half of the total of 15,160 complaints, up from just 1,453 in all of 2018.
And along with another person, they made up almost three-quarters of the total.
Figures published by Dublin Airport Authority show there was an average of 42 complaints a day.
But the prolific complainant from Ongar in north west Dublin made a total of 7,786 complaints – a daily average of 21. This included 4,554 in July alone when he lodged an average of 147 complaints each day.
The other individual filed 3,435 noise complaints.
The DAA said the large increase in complaints last year was skewed by the multiple complaints made by a number of individuals.
An airport spokesperson said the DAA had engaged directly with the two individuals who had made the most numerous complaints.
He pointed out that, for example, the new Airbus A320Neo aircraft that was introduced by Aer Lingus last year generates 50pc less noise than the previous model of the same plane.
According to the DAA, more than 95pc of aircraft using Dublin Airport since 2015 were the quietest type of aircraft compared to 83pc in 2008.
The DAA spokesperson said the reduction of aircraft noise in neighbouring communities was the joint responsibility of Dublin Airport, the Irish Aviation Authority and airlines.
“DAA works closely with all those stakeholders to minimise aircraft noise at the airport,” the spokesperson said.
Figures show that 88pc of complaints last year related to aircraft departures from the main runway taking off in a westerly direction.
The spokesperson said DAA was acutely aware of the concerns of local residents in relation to noise and engaged with them on an ongoing basis. “A balance has to be achieved between those concerns and the needs of the Irish economy,” he added.
Official figures show that 99.2pc of commercial aircraft using Dublin Airport last year kept to the correct flight path on approach and take-off.
Under a noise management plan, most aircraft taking off from Dublin Airport’s main runway must maintain a straight course for five nautical miles before commencing a turn unless otherwise permitted by air traffic controllers.
The DAA operates a €1m noise and flight track monitoring system to ensure minimum disruption to local communities, which includes eight fixed noise monitoring terminals around north Dublin and one mobile monitor.
It said all aircraft operating at Dublin Airport conform to current standards regulated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
“As older aircraft are phased out in the short term, this situation will continue to improve,” the spokesperson added.
Repeat objectors responsible for an almost-tenfold increase in such complaints
A number of repeat objectors are responsible for an almost-tenfold increase in complaints about noise from aircraft using Dublin Airport in the first half of 2019.
Figures published by the DAA, the airport’s operator, show one individual has filed over 3,100 complaints over the six months.
The individual, who lives in Ongar, West Dublin, had made 3,147 complaints about noise from aircraft between January and June – approximately 82 per cent of all complaints recorded over the period – and an average of more than 17 complaints per day.
The same person was also single-handedly responsible for a 22 per cent increase in overall noise complaints to the DAA in 2018 when they registered 628 incidents.
Two other individuals – one from The Ward and another Ongar resident – have each filed more than 100 complaints in the first half of this year.
Overall, a total of 3,817 noise complaints have been lodged with the DAA from just over 100 individuals over the period compared to 396 complaints over the corresponding timeframe last year.
The DAA claims the figures are skewed by a significant number of complaints from a few individuals. If such repeat objectors are excluded, the DAA estimates the number of complaints in the first half of 2019 is around 330.
The vast majority of cases relate to complaints about noise from aircraft taking off from the main 10/28 runway during daylight hours.
Most complaints are made by people living on Dublin’s northside in areas located on or close to flights paths including The Ward, Portmarnock and St Margaret’s, but some have been received from residents as far away as Celbridge and Maynooth, Co Kildare, Newcastle, Co Wicklow and Tallaghtand Sallynoggin on the city’s southside.
A DAA spokeswoman said more than 99 per cent of commercial flights adhere to the dedicated flight path on take-off and approach at Dublin Airport.
The spokeswoman said the DAA had contacted the Irish Aviation Authority(IAA) to ascertain if anything had changed regarding flight paths to explain the increase in complaints.
“We are both puzzled as to what has changed over Ongar since the first complaint came in July 2018, as the current flight procedures/path have remained the same for at least the past 15 years,” she said. “Aircraft are typically between 5,000 and 10,000 feet when they are given direction by the IAA to turn south over Ongar.”
Ongar lies a considerable distance outside a zone where householders can avail of a free noise insulation scheme for their homes.
However, the DAA acknowledged that the number of flights had increased over the period.
Most aircraft, which depart from the main runway in a westerly direction, must maintain a straight course for five nautical miles before commencing a turn.
The DAA said all aircraft taking off and landing in Dublin were compliant with current standards set down by the International Civil Aviation Organisationon aircraft noise, noise abatement measures and operating restrictions.
It claimed that modern subsonic jets were around 30 decibels quieter than their first-generation counterparts, which represents a 90 per cent reduction in perceived noise.
And over 90 per cent of aircraft using Dublin last year were the quietest types compared to 83 per cent in 2008 and 46 per cent in 2003.
The DAA said it worked closely with the IAA and airlines to constantly heighten awareness of noise abatement procedures in force at Dublin Airport.
The DAA operates a €1m noise and flight track monitoring system to ensure minimum disruption to local communities which includes eight fixed noise monitors and one mobile noise monitor around north Dublin.
Construction work is currently under way on the new €320 million North Runway at Dublin Airport, which is scheduled to come into operation in 2022.
The DAA is seeking to amend the existing planning permissions for the runway, which will prohibit its use for landings and take-offs between 11pm and 7am.
Fingal County Council has recently been appointed as the competent authority for independently assessing noise controls and restrictions at Dublin Airport.
The family of a Kerry farmer killed by his neighbour in a dispute over the use of a loud crow banger on his land say they don’t feel justice has been served.
Michael Ferris from Rattoo in Ballyduff was jailed for five years today for the manslaughter of Anthony O’Mahony in April 2017.
Anthony O’Mahony’s niece Ann O’Carroll believes the jury got it wrong when they cleared Michael Ferris of murder.
The 63-year-old admitted killing his neighbour by ramming his teleporter into his car while he was trying to pass on a narrow country road, but he denied murder claiming he “just snapped” after over 30 years of provocation.
The trial heard they lived and farmed together in the small rural community and Mr. O’Mahony had a crow banger on his land that would go off every four and a half minutes.
Ferris told Gardaí it was so loud it would “wake the dead” and he felt he had to do something about it.
He was convicted of manslaughter and jailed for five years today – afterwards, Ms. O’Carroll said she didn’t feel justice had been served and she described the trial process as “distressing”.
PALMER — More complaints about noise from Whiskey Hill Raceway were voiced by residents during Monday’s Planning Board meeting, but the track’s manager said mitigation measures have been put in place and more action could be taken to lessen the noise.
Since the 2.3-mile Palmer Motorsports Park racetrack opened in 2015, Ware, Warren and Palmer residents have complained about noise.
Fred Ferguson, the racetrack’s manager, said at Monday’s meeting that a thousand feet of “acoustic fabric” has been installed to dampen sound.
“We are prepared to put up more,” he said.
A number of residents attending the meeting said noise problems continue, and they questioned a recent sound study, saying it was completed on a day when the track was not at its loudest.
An attorney representing the town of Palmer said that, unlike previous sound studies, this one measured decibel levels of loud noise in the moment, rather than as an average over the course of a day.
Ware Planning Board Chairman Richard Starodoj also attended the meeting, as did Ware Town Manager Stuart Beckley.
“There is a constant drone” in some sections of town but not in others, Staradoj said. He recommended additional “points in Ware” from which to measure the noise.
“Some (days) are louder than others,” Palmer Planning Board Chairman Michael Marciniec said, alluding to results he gleaned from the recent sound study.
Monday’s hearing was convened to act on Palmer Motorsports Park’s request to amend its operating permit to remove language defining sound limits. The amended language proposed by Ferguson would require “actual noise” to be in compliance with “state regulations.”
At the time the raceway was approved, the Planning Board required the track to scientifically estimate how much noise would migrate off site. If reference to that “project model” were removed, according to the Planning Board, criteria to determine whether the track is too loud would no longer be part of the operating permit.
No decision was made on Ferguson’s request during Monday’s meeting. The Planning Board continued the public hearing until Nov. 26.
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.
City officials can order an activity stopped if the resulting noise exceeds regulations.
The joke in New York City is that there are two seasons: winter and construction.
Residents in other cities quip the same, but the idiom rings truest here, where New Yorkers filed more than 446,000 noise-related complaints in 2017, the most common reports coming via 311. Those complaints flag loud construction sites, car and truck horns but even more typically “loud parties” or music.
For New Yorkers woken up to the sounds of jackhammers in the morning, the city’s Noise Codeprotects its residents from such sonic assaults. And, earlier this year, the City Council passed a bill sponsored by Councilman Ben Kallos that aims to limit construction noise—particularly during overnights and weekends.
New construction projects need to abide by a lower sound limit when working after hours — before 7 a.m. or after 6 p.m. — during the business week and anytime on weekends. Before the law passed, crews were not permitted to make noise above 85 decibels within 200 feet of a residence. That limit will drop to 75 decibels in 2020 under the new rules.
Listening to sustained, repeated sounds “at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss,” according to the National Institutes of Health. For comparison, a normal conversation has a decibel level around 60 decibels; a jackhammer is around 110 decibels and a nearby jet takeoff would be at roughly 130 decibels.
The city’s Department of Environmental Protection offers a summary guide to the code online and Edward Timbers, a DEP spokesman, helped answer some common questions on rules around noise violations:
Under current laws, what levels of noise are permissible in residential New York City areas and when?
According to the NYC Noise Code, the level of noise that is permissible depends largely on the level of ambient noise in the area.
If a report of unreasonable noise comes to DEP, an inspector will be sent to the location to take readings of both the ambient levels of noise, and the level of noise with the offending activity, whether it be construction, a barking dog or an HVAC unit.
The Noise Code sets out parameters for each particular activity, and how much noise it may legally create above the ambient level. A noisy party may result in a visit by NYPD, who will determine whether the noise is reasonable, or not.
What protections are in place to ensure that construction contractors meet those noise regulations?
All construction projects must file a noise mitigation plan and take all reasonable steps to limit the amount of noise they create. If a certain activity is creating an unreasonable amount of noise, a recently passed law authorizes DEP to order the activity to be stopped until the excessive noise is abated.
And what penalties are in place for contractors, or individual residents, who violate noise regulations?
A Notice of Violation issued by DEP carries penalties ranging from $50 to $24,000. A repeat offender who shows no willingness to remedy an unreasonably noisy situation could be issued a cease and desist order from the courts.
New research reveals that one in six Brits have had to move in order to escape noise pollution.
The research, carried out for home improvement specialists Everest, also worryingly found that 46 per cent of Brits are woken, or kept awake, at least once a week by noise from outside.
The extraordinary findings emerged following a comprehensive study on 2000 UK adults, who reveal a series of nightmares, with noisy neighbours, anti-social behaviour, out-of-control pets and loud traffic noise. Those affected claim to be disrupted on average seventy nights a year – and fears are growing that a generation of sleepless Brits are risking their health.
Noise pollution can be a particular problem for estate and letting agents to tackle, however the impact on tenants can be huge.
Those suffering from lack of sleep describe mood swings, temper tantrums and an inability to concentrate properly, and say that the problem affects their performance at work, as well as their confidence and mood,
Commenting on the findings, psychologist and TV expert Emma Kenny said,
“In the modern age, where life is fast paced and where the work-life balance can feel challenging, finding sanctuary is more important than ever. Noise disturbance is annoying at the best of times, but more importantly it can cause health issues when it interferes with our sleep patterns.
“Getting an uninterrupted and peaceful night’s sleep ensures we are physically and emotionally rested and allows our bodies to heal from the stresses and strains of modern day living. If the noise outside is affecting our ability to rest and relax, we are likely to experience a whole host of negative issues, including irritability, lack of focus and exhaustion, which can impact on every aspect of our life. That’s why it’s imperative to create a relaxing space, with as little noise pollution as possible.”
How agents can resolve noise complaints
Noise complaints are often the bane of estate agents lives, as tenants will often turn to them first. A spokeman for Move.UK.Let says if the noisy neighbour is also renting through the same landlord, they can sometimes help – after all, good tenants can be hard to find.
“Tenants will normally have a clause in their Tenancy Agreement prohibiting them from actions and/or behaviour that cause a nuisance to their neighbours. Lettings agents will notify the tenants that they have had complaints (this can be anonymous).”
When a tenant leaves, agents should be aware if they have been previous complaints about noise in the property, they should be careful to not misrepresent the property to the next tenant. Under the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014, a tenant has a right to ‘unwind’ a tenancy where the tenant has been induced to enter into the contract by an unfair practice. This would include telling untruths about the tenancy – for example, that it is a quiet property when it is not. In such cases, the new tenant can bring civil proceedings to end the tenancy and recover their fees within the first 90 days.
Contacting the local council
If an estate agent is unable to resolve the issue, they should advise their tenant to contact the council. Under the Noise Act 1996 and other associated legislation, the local council must investigate any noise that is deemed to be a ‘nuisance’. If the offender’s noise is deemed a nuisance, then the Council can issue an Abatement Notice. The notice will stipulate that either the noise must stop completely, be reduced to a certain level, or is only permitted during certain times of the day.
If the neighbour fails to comply with the notice, they can be fined up to £5,000 (or up to £20,000 if it’s a business creating the noise). Any device such as a sound system can also be seized by an Environmental Health Officer or the police for up to 28 days until the court decides what should be done with it.
Many feel moving is the only option
Researchers also found many people saying moving was their only option, with 16% of people saying they moved home already because of noise, and an additional 5% saying it is something they are looking at – and 14 per cent said they would have moved house if they could.
Martin Troughton, Marketing Director at Everest, says,
“While many of us will know from personal experience that a disturbed night’s sleep can have a detrimental impact on how we feel the next day, the scale of the issue identified through this research is something of a surprise. Almost half of the adults in this country are being affected by noise every week, which is having a huge influence on their mood and overall state of mind. The fact that more than a third of us have moved home or considered it due to noise from outside is simply staggering.
“Although over two thirds of those surveyed said they wouldn’t ask the person creating the disturbance to keep the noise down, there are other things they can do to mitigate the problem. Landlords can fit sound-reducing products, such as windows made with laminated acoustic glass, which will help to reduce the noise, as well as potentially improving the property’s energy efficiency and security.”
Noisy neighbours beware: noise complaints from church bells to rowdy crowds in a local pub are revealed in an Irish Sun investigation.
And rowdy supermarket shoppers caused dismay to a Co Sligo resident.
An Irish Sun investigation reveals almost 3,500 sound gripes were received by 15 of the biggest city and county councils across the country from 2015 to 2017. Neighbours and residents filed more than 1,000 complaints while the rest of the grumbles related to businesses, traffic and entertainment events.
A Sligo resident vented fury over a church’s bells ringing, while another complained about noise from a local pub.
Another Yeats County local moaned about barking dogs and generators at a halting site, while a report was also filed over bangers being ignited at a nearby farmland. Another complainant was driven mad by a neighbouring lawn repair business.
In Dublin city, most whines related to businesses playing loud music, alarms going off, construction work, roadworks and traffic noise.
Officials from South Dublin County Council received 521 gripes over the two years. A spokesman said: “The predominant reason for the making of complaints was the nuisance being felt because of the loudness.”
The documents were obtained via a Freedom of Information request.
People also reported illegal burning and the burning of smoky coals, which is banned in larger towns.
Donegal alone had 176 complaints over neighbours and businesses torching waste from 2015 to 2017. A further 17 were made about people burning smoky coal.
Dublin City Council received 30 complaints in 2016 and 50 in 2017 about burning or illegal hazardous material.
In Limerick 321 complaints were made about burning and 43 about smoky coal.
South Dublin County Council received 350 complaints about air pollution, of which 199 related to illegal burning and nine to smoky coal.
Kerry had 147 complaints about burning illegal and hazardous material. Cork City had 73 air pollution complaints.