Noise complaints received by district councils between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017 have risen by 13%, according to a report by the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs just released.
A total of 12,105 were received in 2016/17 compared to 10,754 the previous year. The report, Noise Complaint Statistics for Northern Ireland 2016-2017, finds that domestic noise remains the largest cause of noise complaints across the province. Eighty percent of noise complaints relate to noise from domestic premises. Of these complaints, 43% relate to loud music, televisions and parties, and 37% to animal noise.
The report finds the second largest contributor to noise complaints to be commercial and leisure premises with noise from entertainment premises accounting for just under half (48%) of the complaints in this category. This year noise in the street represented 4% of noise complaints with industrial and transport noise complaints each accounting for 2% of the total complaints received.
The 13% rise in complaints does not necessarily equate to worsening noise pollution. The increase may be due to individuals becoming more susceptible to noise or more aware of who they should complain to when they experience noise problems. Councils have a number of courses of action open to them when dealing with noise complaints. Informal warnings are frequently used but formal options include service of a notice, prosecution and seizure of noise making equipment.
Education, through the Noise Statistics Report, activities during Noise Action Week and the general work of district councils, is considered the most appropriate way of preventing noise issues.