Gripe teams come and feel the noise

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A SURGE of problems with antisocial neighbours has resulted in noise teams being bombarded with an average of 33 complaints every day.

New figures obtained by the Evening News show that the city council’s noise and antisocial behaviour teams received 12,019 complaints in a year.

Top gripes included noisy neighbours, loud music, barking dogs, footsteps on wooden or laminate flooring, car alarms and street disturbances.

The number of complaints soared by 26 per cent compared with a year earlier.

More complaints were made in the Sighthill/Gorgie ward than any other part of the city, with an average of four a day.

The other noisiest wards were Leith Walk and the city centre.

Keith Bell, secretary of the Sighthill, Broomhouse and Parkhead Community Council, said: “I know there has been an increase in problems with laminate flooring being put down and that meaning noise from upstairs for a lot of people.

“The size of the ward and the type of housing we have will mean we have more noise than in your Barntons, Almonds or Fairmileheads, where they have more detached properties.”

He added that he has seen no evidence of the problem getting worse. He said: “This increase is possibly an indication that the environmental wardens and neighbourhood teams are becoming more established and well-known in the area.”

The problem wasn’t so large in some areas, with Almond proving to be the city’s most peaceful suburb, with only 205 complaints during the year.

Wardens have previously faced criticism for not taking enough action against persistent noisy neighbours.

Figures from 2009-10 show that wardens handed out only 39 fines and seized just eight stereos following complaints, despite the council promising a tough approach when it took over responsibility for dealing with noise complaints in 2005.

Last month, the council introduced controversial changes to its noise nuisance teams, with the night service now only operating between Thursday and Sunday from 5.15pm to 4am.

Complaints on other evenings can still be lodged but police will only respond to urgent calls.

A council spokeswoman said: “Noise pollution and antisocial noise can have a significant impact on communities and the rise in the number of complaints illustrates that residents are now more aware of how to get in contact with the council’s dedicated noise team.”

mblackley@edinburghnews.com