Related to: Students, Crime and Disorder, Alcohol, Cultural Activities, Domestic Abuse,Wellbeing, Night Time Economy, Police Assessments, Youth Offending

Key Facts:

  • There are approximately 1250 noise nuisance complaints made to the local authority each year. Currently (2012/13) this is down to 1140 from a high of just over 1500 in 2009/10.
  • Comparisons with national figures would suggest that the rates per 000 population of noise nuisance complaints are lower than those reported nationally
  • Between January 2006 and October 2013, there were 7,960 complaints made to Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Public Protection Team regarding noise and the average number received each month decreased by 13%. (decline may be linked to changes in recording practises)
  • Highest number of noise complaints to B&NES’s Public Protection Team were made in the summer months (January 2006-October 2013) 
  •  65% of complaints to the Public Protection Team were made about noise coming from a domestic dwelling, and 19%, about noise from premises of entertainment or with alcohol licenses, such as pubs and clubs. (January 2006-October 2013)
  • Abbey ward had the greatest number of locations complained about to the Public Protection Team with 1027 complaints, making up 13% of all complaints. (January 2006-October 2013)

Definition:

Noise nuisance complaints are defined as those recorded by Bath and North East Somerset Environmental services as complaints relating to "noise" and includes a range of issues ranging from aeroplane noise to disorder and noise relating to  licensed premises,

Overview:

There have been an average of nearly 1250 noise nuisance complaints per year between 2008/9 and 2012/13. After rising significantly between 08/09 and 09/10 (which has partially been attributed to a change in recording methods) noise nuisance complaints have returned to levels similar to those previously observed, as detailed in Fig 11.

 

 2008/092009/102010/112011/122012/13
Complaints11781501130211021140
Rate6.88.67.46.36.4

Figure 1: Noise nuisance complaints in Bath and North East Somerset per 1000 population 2008/09 - 2012/13

Comparisons with Public Health Outcomes Framework

The data provided above is at some variance from that provided in the Public Health Outcomes framework, which places the rate for Bath and North East Somerset for 2011/12 (8.1) as significantly higher than an England rate (7.5) 2. The reason for this discrepancy is due to the use of modelled data 3 and as such local figures are preferred. As a result the figure for B&NES should be considered to be lower than national rates.

Noise complaints made to the Council’s Public Protection Team 4

Between January 2006 and October 2013 there were 7,960 complaints made to the Council’s Public Protection Team regarding noise. 

The average number of noise complaints each month decreased by 13%, from an average of 90 complaints a month in 2006, to an average of 78 per month in 2013. This decline though maybe linked to the changes in recording practices that occurred during this period.

The number of complaints in 2006 was 1,076, compared to 867 in 2012 (2013 is an incomplete year), this represents a 19% decline in the number of complaints.  The numbers of complaints remained above 1,000 per year until 2011, and since then they continued to stay below 868 per year. Again, this decline maybe linked to the changes in recording practices that occurred during this period.

noise_-_complaints_to_the_public_protection_team_-_by_year_-_jan06-oct13_-_bar_graph

Figure 2: Noise complaints made to the Public Protection Team in B&NES (January 2006-October 2013) – By year

Complaints by month

During the seven year period between 2006 and 2012, the months when the Public Protection Team received the highest number of noise complaints were the summer months of June with 779, July with 800 and August with 794, each accounting for 11% of all complaints. 

These months were followed by those of spring and autumn, with the lowest number of complaints in the winter months January, February, November and December, each with fewer than 500 complaints, and each, making up between 7-5% of all complaints.

Types of complaint

During this period:

  • 65%, 5,209 complaints were made about noise coming from a domestic dwelling
  • 19%, 1,477 complaints made about noise from premises of entertainment or with alcohol licenses, such as pubs and clubs
  • 14%, 1,086 complaints  were about noise coming from the street (inc. buskers)
  • 2%, 188 complaints were regarding students in domestic dwellings

It is though important to note that complaints about noise from students do not seem to have been recorded as a separate category until 2009.

noise_-_complaints_to_the_public_protection_team_-_by_type_-_jan06-oct13_-_infographic

Figure 3: Noise complaints made to the Public Protection Team in B&NES (January 2006-October 2013) – By type

How complaints were received

Between January 2006 and October 2013:

  • 30%, 3167 noise complaints were received by telephone
  • 37%, 2921 noise complaints were received by the Emergency/Out of Hours Service.
  • 10%, 822 complaints were received by email
  • 5%, 387 complaints were received by letter
  • 1%, 95 complaints were made at the Council’s reception 

The following methods each made up less than 1% of the ways in which people made noise complaints to the council during this period, via an officer/member of staff, memorandum, on site, council connect, facsimile, petition, Councillor, personal visit, and referrals from others.

Wards of addresses being complained about

During the period between January 2006 and October 2013, the locations that noise complaints were made about came from 36 wards:

  • Abbey ward had the greatest number of locations with 1,027 complaints, making up 13% of all complaints,
  • followed by Kingsmead with 471, 6%,
  • Walcot with 362, 5%,
  • and Twerton with 335, 4%.

The complaints directed at each of the remaining wards made up 3% or less for each ward. It is though worth noting that no postcode was recorded for 22% of complaints (1767) and so we are not able to identify these wards.

noise_-_complaints_to_the_public_protection_team_-_by_ward_of_location_being_complained_about_-_jan06-oct13_-_bar_graph

Figure 4: Noise complaints made to the Public Protection Team in B&NES (January 2006-October 2013) – By ward of location being complained about

Unsurprisingly, because Abbey is in Bath city centre the greatest proportion of complaints were made about entertainment premises such as pubs and clubs (47%), followed by domestic dwellings (37%), a significant proportion was also made about noise on the street (15%).

In contrast, in terms of the types of complaints made about locations in the other three wards that had the most recorded noise complaints made about them, complaints about domestic dwellings made up the greatest proportion of complaints:

  • Kingsmead, 73%
  • Walcot, 86%
  • and Twerton, 91%

This is followed by complaints made about entertainment premises such as pubs and clubs:

  • Kingsmead, 20%
  • Walcot, 10%
  • Twerton, 7% 

noise_-_complaints_to_the_public_protection_team_-_by_ward_of_location_being_complained_about_and_type_-_jan06-oct13_-_stack_graph.

Figure 5: Noise complaints made to the Public Protection Team in B&NES (January 2006-October 2013) – about locations in Abbey, Kingsmead, Walcot and Twerton wards – By type of complaint

Wards of complainant addresses

During the period between January 2006 and October 2013, noise complainants came from 36 recorded wards. The wards of complainant that made the greatest number of complaints were:

  • Abbey with 1177 complaints, making up 15% of all complaints,
  • followed by Kingsmead with 497, 6%,
  • Walcot with 365, 5%,
  • Twerton with 343, 4%,
  • and Oldfield with 292, 4%.

The remaining recorded wards of complainants each made up 3% or less of complaints.  It is though worth noting that no postcode was recorded for 15% of complaints (1767) and so we are not able to identify these wards.

The distribution of ward of complainant is very similar to that of the locations that noise complaints were made about, thus indicating that most complainants made noise complaints about locations within their wards of residence, this reflects the fact that a considerable proportion of complaints were made about noise from domestic dwellings.