Local councils received nearly 580,000 statutory nuisance complaints last year, an average of 66 an hour in the 12 months to August 2017, according to analysis of complaints received by local councils.
Analysing figures from Freedom of Information requests to councils, Churchill Home Insurance contacted local councils to find out which ones have the most nuisance complaints – and found that noise is the top bugbear.
Londoners file the most complaints about their neighbours, accounting for a quarter of all nuisance complaints nationwide, with 160,000 complaints a year, or 439 a day.
The City of Westminster received the most complaints, 17,133, which is 4% of all the complaints filed nationwide. Coming a close second is Cornwall, with 17,001. A further five of the top 10 councils for complaints are in London – Brent, Southwark, Haringey and Kensington & Chelsea – and the others are Belfast, Coventry, Bradford and Glasgow.
Nationwide, noise is the most common complaint, accounting for almost half of the total (48%), followed by rubbish (24%), maintenance (9%), vehicles (7%) and air pollution (7%).
Yet despite noise being such a big problem, it seems little action is being taken. Only 8,024 noise abatement notices were issued in 2016/17, a fall of 1% on the previous year. Two-fifths of these were issued in London, 13% in Yorkshire and the Humber, 9% in the South East and 8% in Northern Ireland.
More noise abatement notices are also broken in London than anywhere else. About 8% of the legal notices requiring noisy neighbours to pipe down are broken nationwide, about a quarter of these are in London (24%), but the most determined noisy neighbours are in Leicester, where 60 of the council’s 93 noise abatement notices (65%) were ignored. The average fine for breaking a noise abatement notice is £528.
Commenting on the findings, Martin Scott, head of Churchill Insurance, says: “It is a worrying indictment of modern society. Living next to a poorly maintained property or loud and disruptive neighbours cannot only be a harrowing ordeal but could also affect the value of your home if you were looking to sell.”