Doncaster tops league for noise nusiance

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Thousands of complaints about nightmare noise in Doncaster have rocketed the town to the top of a new table.

The first Yorkshire-wide noise nuisance league table found there were 6,231 complaints in Doncaster in a year – equivalent to 20 complaints per 1,000 residents.

Barking dogs, domestic noise such as DIY work or loud televisions and blaring music were among the most common complaints.

Just 45 of the 40,662 complaints made across Yorkshire ended up in court – with 23 prosecutions in Doncaster alone.

Rotherham was third in the table with 2,551 complaints, equivalent to just under 10 complaints per 1,000 people. Music, dogs and people being too loud prompted the most complaints.

In Sheffield, there were 4,292 complaints, equivalent to around eight complaints for every 1,000 residents, mostly about noisy people, dogs and cars.

Thomas Shelton of Cirrus Research, which gathered the data, said: “We work with many local authorities and housing associations which have to deal with the complaints daily about noise nuisance.

“They have a duty to investigate each allegation, see if there is any substance, gather evidence and then take action.

“What one person thinks is acceptable could drive someone else crazy so noise enforcement teams have a difficult job at the best of times.”

Doncaster Council assistant director of environment Gill Gillies said the high number of complaints showed local people know how seriously the authority takes complaints.

She added: “Prosecuting someone for noise nuisance is very difficult, but it is vital that residents do report this as our enforcement team specialises in gathering evidence to prosecute for noise nuisance.

“We adopt a zero tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour, including noise nuisance, reflected by the 23 cases we have taken to court.

“Over half the nuisance noise cases taken to court in Yorkshire were in Doncaster, emphasising our dedication and commitment to enforcement and making Doncaster a nicer place to live.”

Mr Shelton added: “You would expect a large city such as Sheffield to have one of the highest number of complaints with over 4,200 but when you look at the size of its population, relatively speaking, it is quieter than Rotherham and York.”

Across Yorkshire, Leeds came second with 12,295 complaints within its population of 751,500 – the equivalent of 16 complaints per 1,000 population.

Third billing for noise nuisance went to Rotherham with 2,551 complaints in a population of 257,600 – or just under 10 complaints per 1,000.

And more rural areas didn’t escape completely, with Ryedale seeing 177 complainants within a population of just over 52,000 and Richmond having 195 complaints within its population of 53,900.

The vast majority of issues logged related to noisy neighbours, shouting or playing loud music in the home, followed by barking dogs and then errant car or home alarms being triggered. In the rural areas, bird scarers were also being blamed for disturbing the peace of some people.

The quietest spot in the county was Hambleton, North Yorkshire – an almost idyllic five complaints in a population of over 89,000.

Tom added: “Cirrus has been making noise nuisance monitors for more than 30 years and we have seen certain trends emerging over more recent years. With noise nuisance, people are now much more aware of their rights and more likely to complain than grin and bear it. Elderly people are also more likely to complain as they spend more time in doors, and with more homes now having wooden or laminate floors and wall-mounted TVs, we are seeing more domestic complaints as there is less to insulate the noise within the home.”

HOW LOUD IS TOO LOUD?

The decibel (abbreviated dB) is the unit used to measure the intensity of a sound.

Your ears can hear everything from your fingertip brushing lightly over your skin to a loud jet engine. In terms of power, the sound of the jet engine is about 1,000,000,000,000 times more powerful than the smallest audible sound.

On the decibel scale, the smallest audible sound (near total silence) is 0 dB. A sound 10 times more powerful is 10 dB. A sound 100 times more powerful than near total silence is 20 dB. A sound 1,000 times more powerful than near total silence is 30 dB.

Any sound above 85 dB can cause hearing loss, and the loss is related both to the power of the sound as well as the length of exposure. You know that you are listening to an 85-dB sound if you have to raise your voice to be heard by somebody else. Eight hours of 90-dB sound can cause damage to your ears. Any exposure to 140-dB sound causes immediate damage (and causes actual pain).

The loudest sound ever heard in modern history is the cataclysmic explosion at the volcano Krakatoa, Indonesia in 1883. The blast triggered tsunamis,killing over 36,000 people and destroyed over two-thirds of the island. is reported to have been heard up to 3,000 miles from its point of origin.