Officials record 12pc more complaints about noise nuisance

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THE number of noise complaints received by Larne Borough Council has increased by over 12 per cent, it has emerged.

New figures published by the Department of the Environment show that a total of 99 complaints were made to the local authority during the period April 2011 to March 2012, compared with 87 the previous year.

The domestic noise source complained about the most in the borough related to animal noise (41 complaints), followed by loud music, television or parties (25 complaints). House alarms accounted for 14 complaints, while there were four complaints made regarding entertainment premises.

There were also four complaints relating to industrial or agricultural noise, but nothing regarding construction, road works or noise in the street. Also, no notices were served by the council during this period.

While the overall number of complaints in the borough may have risen, it should be noted that Larne has the second lowest number of noise complaints out of all 26 district councils, with only Moyle being lower.

The number of noise complaints across the province as a whole rose to 12,193 in 2011/12 – an increase of over five per cent from the previous year’s figure of 11,585.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood has emphasised that more needs to be done to address this, adding: “Noise is an issue which I take very seriously. There is no doubt that nuisance noise can badly affect people’s health and well being, children particularly. To this end, I want to see less noise and more peace of mind.

“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. This is one of the reasons that the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 was enacted. It gives district councils greater powers to deal with noise from domestic premises at night, and I strongly urge all district councils to make full use of all the powers available to them to deal with persistent offenders.”

The report also highlights initiatives that councils have adopted in an effort to raise awareness of noise issues and ensure that noise remains high on the public’s agenda.

The Minister added: “I am impressed by the lengths that some councils go to in an effort to improve noise within their district.

“I welcome innovative approaches, such as council officers visiting schools and running quizzes and carrying out noise tests on the volume of children’s iPods.

“I also welcome the adoption of partnership approaches between district councils and the PSNI, Housing Executive and Youth Justice Agency in tackling noise. It is these sorts of initiatives that I would like to see repeated across the North.”