Noise complaints climbed sharply in Hackney during first lockdown

Hackney Town Hall

Complaints about noise at home soared in Hackney during the pandemic spring of 2020.

According to the latest figures, calls about noise to the council’s out-of-hours service jumped in April, May and June, when people were in lockdown.

Gerry McCarthy, director of community safety, told a corporate committee meeting (14 September) that it was a difficult time for council staff.

He said: “We put it down to Covid, people being at home, people living above each other 24 hours a day, children not at school, so it was a very challenging time for people.”

The number of complaints peaked in July, with 1,574 calls, compared with 951 in July 2019.

April 2020 saw 1,014 calls, up from 584 the previous year, and in May there were 1,458 calls – an increase of 110 per cent on May 2019.

That June saw 1,505 complaints about noisy neighbours – up from 712 calls the year before.

Although the pandemic changed people’s lives dramatically, the biggest bugbear was still loud music.

Between October and December 2020, the council’s noise enforcement team had 506 complaints about the volume of music in nearby homes.

The noise of building work and DIY also got on people’s nerves, with 61 complaints lodged over those three months.

There were 49 complaints about shouting and swearing and 44 calls about children running around and playing games, but just three about drunken behaviour.

When it comes to complaints about businesses, noise and nuisance complaints about music, alarms, odour, and light topped the charts last year with 2,323 calls. Construction came second with 542 complaints.

The data is incomplete due to the cyber attack on the council in October 2020.