Noise investigators swamped by 70 percent rise in complaints

NOISE complaints in the Dungannon District have soared by almost 70 percent since 2004, one of the highest increases in Northern Ireland.

Latest figures show a total of 169 complaints were dealt with by Dungannon District Council last year.

The vast majority of the complaints were domestic, 132, with 37 cases sparked by parties or overloud music and TVs, 81 related to animal noise, such as barking dogs, and 14 caused by house alarms.

However, a sizeable minority, 17, were caused by industry and manufacturing workshops.

Yet despite the huge increase, there were no prosecutions made by Dungannon Council last year.

Across Northern Ireland, district councils dealt with around 12,000 complaints.

More than four out of five cases were domestic – sparked by house parties.

The overall level of complaints has soared by almost 50% over the last decade – from when statistics were first compiled.

The latest annual report 
shows a 5.25% increase in the total number of complaints received between April 
2011 and March last year compared to the previous 12 months.

And it admits a “marked change” from the 0.87% reduction identified in the report the year before.

Now Environment Minister Alex Attwood is urging councils to use enhanced powers to deal with noise coming from domestic properties.

During this year Mr Attwood intends to draw up ‘action plans’ to tackle areas from where the noise complaints come loudest.

The statistics showing that councils received more than 12,000 complaints are contained in the recently published Noise Complaint Statistics for Northern Ireland 2011/2012.

Mr Attwood said: “As with previous years, domestic noise is the major culprit and this is something that can, in the main, be avoided, especially those complaints relating to loud music/televisions and parties.”

The SDLP minister said one of the main drivers of the 2011 Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act was to give councils greater powers to deal with noise from domestic premises at night.