Neighbour noise annoys the most in Sheffield

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Barking dogs and noisy neighbours have sparked thousands of complaints to Sheffield Council’s environmental health teams.

New figures – obtained under The Star’s Your Right to Know campaign – show that more than 12,000 noise problems have been recorded by the authority’s officers since 2012.

The most common causes for complaint were domestic disturbances at private and council homes, which covers everything from loud voices to music, DIY equipment or blaring televisions.

In third place was noise from dogs, animals or birds, with about 600 complaints per year.

However, more unusual complaints covered bangs from fireworks, aircraft noise described as ‘not model aircraft’ and railway or Supertram noise.

Dad Aidan While, who lives near Ecclesall Road, was one of the thousands of people who has complained to council number 101 over late-night music coming from nearby bars.

The 46-year-old, who teaches at The University of Sheffield, said: “The living room was actually vibrating, we ended up ringing 101 almost every Friday and Saturday night and having council officers around.

“The problem is that sometimes when they do come around the noise has stopped - we were told then that we were being too tolerant by waiting until midnight to call.

“We’ve changed our windows and I sleep with earplugs but I can’t give those to my son when his sleep is disrupted.”

The most high-profile case of noise complaints in Sheffield was when Mill House Animal Sanctuary in Fulwood faced closure after a neighbour complained the barking from dogs was too loud.

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A council noise abatement order meant the sanctuary had to erect a £2,000 soundproof fence – something its elderly owners could not afford – or have the dogs put down.

But animal lovers from around the world pledged cash to help pay for the measure and the animals were moved off death row.

When the council receives a complaint, officers contact the alleged perpetrator to offer advice on minimising noise.

If the situation does not improve they try to gather evidence, through noise monitoring or by a staff member visiting to witness the problem in person.

Legal abatement notices can be served, equipment seized through the courts or prosecutions carried out.

A council spokesman said: “Our aim is to solve noise problems as quickly as we can and we will discuss the issues with the person causing the noise wherever possible, so that we can reach a quick solution, whatever stage we are at with an issue.

“This could be a domestic neighbour, noisy pub or venue holding events or a noisy chiller fan serving a local shop.

“We work closely with partners such as housing services, smaller social landlords, police and universities so that we can advise people how their behaviours may cause others disturbance, and if they are suffering such, where to go for help.”

Organised events, construction work, bin collections and industrial work was also the cause of complaints.