More than 1,000 noisy neighbour complaints were made in Bedford during pandemic

As we've been more confined to our homes, we’ve become more aware of noises around us

More than 1,000 complaints were recorded in Bedford as noisy neighbours caused a headache during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic.

The area's council recorded 1,059 noise complaints linked to neighbours between April 2020 and March this year, according to new figures.

That was 606 complaints for every 100,000 people .

The number of noisy neighbour complaints have soared

The number of complaints soared from 781 the year before – a 36 per cent increase – as people across the area were confined to their homes for sustained periods of lockdown.

A Bedford Borough Council spokesman said: “Over the course of the pandemic, there has been an increase in the number of noise complaints submitted both nationally and locally. We have also experienced an increase in the number of reports of other neighbourhood nuisances and environmental crime.

“We’re extremely grateful to council officers who have worked with local communities and responded to complaints during this busy period.

“If your neighbour is making a substantial amount of noise, you should initially try to resolve the issue by talking with them about it, if you feel comfortable to do so. If that is not possible or unsuccessful, you can access additional advice and contact us by visiting our website."

A Freedom of Information request submitted to hundreds of local authorities by Churchill Home Insurance found there were more than 368,000 complaints about noisy neighbours lodged to 267 councils across the UK in 2020-21, a 28 per cent rise from the previous year.

Steven Williams, from Churchill, said: "The pandemic has seen us confined to our homes which means we’ve probably all become very aware of noises around us.

"As we go into more of a ‘new normal’, many of us will carry on working from home, at least part of the time, so noisy neighbours will continue to be really disruptive.

“It may be the case that neighbours don’t realise they are being noisy, so the first step should always be speaking to them and explaining the problem.

"If that doesn’t work and they carry on, then keep a record of the type of noise and time of day and speak to your local council about raising a potential noise complaint.”

The Local Government Association, which represents local authorities, said councils were working to tackle the problem.

Nesil Caliskan, from the LGA, said: "With many people living in high density, urban areas, complaints about noise nuisance are common.

"Councils are doing what they can to respond to noise complaints in communities, and to tackle persistent behaviour that makes peoples’ lives a misery."

Based on the number of statutory nuisance complaints linked to neighbourly noise, the figures suggest the place with the noisiest neighbours in the UK was Kensington and Chelsea, where more than 15,000 complaints were made, roughly 9,900 for every 100,000 people.

The Government has assembled the Interdepartmental Panel on Costs and Benefits (Noise) to consider the implications of the latest evidence around noise and will use the findings to update Government guidance where necessary.

Local authorities are responsible for investigating complaints about issues that could be a statutory nuisance and have a duty to carry out inspections to detect and investigate nuisance complaints, including those concerning excessive noise.