Rise in ‘noisy neighbour’ complaints in Birmingham

Complaints about noisy neighbours in Birmingham have rocketed as people spend more time at home during the lockdown.

Loudspeaker. Image by Republica from Pixabay
Loudspeaker. Image by Republica from Pixabay

Council officers received 1,073 domestic noise complaints – such as barking dogs, music, TV and anti-social behaviour – between March 23 and May 6.

This is an 82 per cent increase on the figure for the same period in the previous year – 588 – and comes at a time when people may be more aware of noise around their home during work hours.

The figure for complaints about alarms going off went from 18 during the same period last year to 48 under lockdown.

The figures are slightly at odds with reports in Solihull, which generally showed decreases in complaints for the first month of the lockdown compared to previous year.

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Solihull Community Housing (SCH) handles complaints for those in both private and council accomodation, and breaks domestic noise complaints down into separate categories.

The only categories of noise to see increases in Solihull were shouting/banging/arguing and DIY, while complaints about noisy dogs, parties, music and appliances were down.

Research by the BBC shows out of 51 councils across the UK who responded to a request for figures on noise complaints, 44 reported some kind of rise.

Figures collected by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) and published by Public Health England (PHE) show Birmingham had a rate of 5.2 noise complaints per 1,000 people in 2018/19.

This was below the national rate of seven complaints per 1,000 people as well as the rates in Walsall (ten per 1,000) and Coventry (11 per 1,000).

A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said: "During the first six weeks of lockdown, we have seen a clear increase in domestic noise complaints – such as barking dogs, music, TV and anti-social behaviour associated noise – compared to the same period last year.

"We urge residents to be considerate of their neighbours, especially as people are spending more time in their homes and gardens at this time.

"We suggest raising any noise issues with your neighbour in the first instance, but if there is still a problem, noise nuisance can be reported via the council’s website."

West Midlands Police and Crime Commisioner David Jamieson has predicted the region could see a spike in antisocial behaviour as the lockdown is lifted.

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