Data from The Noise App suggests that noise complaints in the UK have surged by more than 48% since the Covid-19 lockdown was announced. According to the data collected by The Noise App, members of the public are reporting a massive increase in unwanted noise from their neighbours. The Noise App is used by 240 local authorities and housing associations across the UK. This represents about a quarter of the UK population and provides a snapshot of what is actually going on at home since the lockdown.
Compared to this time last year, some housing associations are experiencing an increase of as much as 450%, while the increase for many local authorities serving urban areas is over 100% rising as high as 200% in London. The noise being complained of includes music, anti-social behaviour, loud voices, barking dogs, DIY and parties. Across the day, complaints begin to build up from around 6pm reaching a peak after 10pm before beginning to subside between midnight and 1am. Most regions of the UK are affected by the rise in complaints with local authorities from England, Wales and Northern Ireland all witnessing a jump in the number of cases they are having to deal with.
Before the lockdown was announced, The Noise App was receiving on average 168 new cases and 1,500 individual noise reports each day but since the lockdown the numbers have increased significantly. Over the last 7 days the average is now 250 new cases every day with 2,300 reports. The law requires local authorities and housing associations to investigate complaints of noise nuisance as it is a statutory duty. Fortunately, local authorities and housing providers using the app can manage these cases remotely and are able to take action despite the lockdown. The reason for this is that the app captures a noise sample which avoids the need for visiting people’s homes which is a big advantage. Other local authorities and housing providers not using the app will have to rely on officers visiting people’s homes where it will be challenging during a lockdown to maintain social distancing. The rise in noise complaints also correlates with the increase in domestic abuse incidents announced this week by the National Domestic Abuse helpline. The Noise App does on
occasions pick up potential domestic abuse cases and the app’s case sharing feature has enabled potential abuse cases to be referred to the police and social services.
The Noise App is free to download for residents whose local authority or housing provider has signed up to use it. Once they have downloaded The Noise App, noise sufferers can capture the unwanted noise and send a recording direct to their local environmental health service or landlord anti-social behaviour team. This year the app is expected to process more than 100,000 cases with over 1 million reports to support the cases. If a local authority or housing association does not use The Noise App, residents can download the app and report a single incident free of charge or open a personal diary account for £2.99 to manage their complaint and send the information to their local authority or housing provider.