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ROCKWOOL Freedom Of Information Act Request Reveals Britons’ Noise Hell

- UK councils received 295,098 complaints about noise from private residences in the last 12 months
- Westminster City Council received more noise complaints per head of population than any other local authority in the UK
- Local authorities served 7,442 noise abatement notices over last 12 months
- 710 anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) were secured by councils on the basis of noise
- Postcode lottery in councils’ response to noise complaints

New research from Rockwool(www.rockwool.co.uk), the world’s leading manufacturer of non-combustible stone wool insulation, reveals UK councils received 295,098 complaints about noise from private residences in the last 12 months. This resulted in environmental health officers serving 7,442 noise abatement notices in a drive to stop neighbourhood noise pollution. The research complied by Rockwool is based on responses from UK councils to a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request.

Westminster City Council received more noise complaints per head of population than any other local authority in the UK in the last 12 months.

Local authorities’ enforcement strategies to prevent neighbourhood noise pollution vary markedly across the country. While Edinburgh City Council has been extremely active, enforcing 27 confiscations of equipment in the last year, 213 councils across the country have not made a single confiscation. Across the UK, 506 confiscations of equipment have been authorised in the last 12 months, involving the removal of powerful speakers, stereos and televisions.

Noise has been cited by local authorities as grounds for granting an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) in over 710 cases in the last 12 months but some 273 councils did not secure a single ASBO on grounds of noise disturbance in the last 12 months.

Hans Schreuder, Rockwool Managing Director, commented: ”Across the UK there are huge differences in local authorities’ treatment of domestic noise complaints. While some councils focus on mediation and negotiation, others operate a strict policy of enforcement and confiscation of equipment. Many householders are relying on their local authority to take appropriate steps to protect their health. Living with persistent noise is extremely stressful and can have a severe impact on an individuals’ physical and psychological wellbeing.”

Under the auspices of the Environmental Protection Act local authorities are mandated to take reasonable practical steps to investigate complaints regarding noise that may be prejudicial to health or a nuisance. Residents that fail to comply with a noise abatement notice issued by a council are liable to fine of up to £5,000** upon summary conviction and a further fine of up to £500 for each day on which the offence continues after the conviction.

Regional findings
Westminster City Council has received more complaints per head of population than any other district in the UK. One in every 25 residents has complained to the council about noise pollution experienced in their homes over the last 12 months. Seven of the top 10 councils ranked by complaints per 1,000 residents are located in London.

Table one: Councils with the highest noise complaints per 1,000 residents in the last 12 months

Local Council Complaints per 1,000 residents Total number complaints
Westminster City Council 42.32 9,814
Haringey London Borough Council 42.10 9,500
Tower Hamlets London Borough Council 29.38 6,252
Hackney London Borough Council 27.33 5,695
Newcastle upon Tyne City Council 26.22 7,091
Newham London Borough Council 25.45 6,352
Durham County Council 25.36 1,089
Waltham Forest London Borough 25.29 5,607
Lambeth London Borough Council 19.03 5,174
Belfast City Council 19.01 5,085
Source: Rockwool

Britons seeking peace and quiet should move to the Isle of Scilly, which did not record a single complaint about noise from a private residence in the last 12 months. Highland areas of Scotland and the surrounding isles were also bastions of tranquillity, recording less than one complaint per 1,000 residents in the last year.

Schreuder continued: ”Householders should be aware that along with the official channels that exist to complain about noise, there are pro-active steps they can take to help reduce unwarranted noise entering their homes. Installing loft, cavity wall and external insulation can significantly reduce nuisance noise, while also reducing energy bills and cutting fuel costs.”

Email: webmaster@rockwool.co.uk


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