Gulf News

Complaints about noisy neighbours reach a crescendo

Five-fold rise in cases from 1980s attributed to population growth

- BY SARAH WOMACK

Complaints about noise and noisy neighbours have reached unpreceden­ted levels as Britain becomes an overcrowde­d and fractious nation, according to an official report published yesterday.

So many people are having to live cheek by jowl, especially in large cities, that noise pollution is a blight on many lives, it says. From the 1980s there has been a fivefold increase in complaints about noise from rowdy neighbours. Campaigner­s say the problem is likely to worsen with summer looming because many homeowners have begun to treat their gardens as “outdoor rooms” and have acquired the noisy outdoor habits more usually associated with Australian­s.

Tuesday’s report, a major study of social trends by the Office for National Statistics, says complaints about building sites and roadworks — up from 31,800 in 1994 to 66,780 in 2004-05 — are hardly surprising given the level of constructi­on work in major cities, particular­ly London. There is also an unpreceden­ted number of roadworks, and the proliferat­ion of cable television firms has aggravated a perennial problem with 500,000 holes dug by utility companies in London alone.

With a population in excess of 60 million, plus more marriage breakdowns and rising immigratio­n, the pressure to build new homes is intense. Between 1995 and 2005 the number of new properties per hectare in England rose from 24 to 40, but in London it rose from 48 to 110.

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