Over 1,200 complaints over neighbours' noise made every day

  • Last year saw nearly 450,000 complaints made to councils about noisy neighbours, averaging one every 70 seconds
  • However, only a third (32 per cent) of Brits are taking action to try to stop the noise
  • London has the most noise complaints, with Yorkshire leading in tackling antisocial noise

Tolerance for noisy neighbours has fallen across the UK in the last two years, suggests new research1 from Churchill Home Insurance. The last financial year saw nearly 450,000 noise complaints to councils across the UK, which equates to 1,229 every day, or one every 70 seconds. This is 10 per cent higher than pre pandemic (2019/20), an increase of nearly 70,000 complaints in two years.

The real number of noisy neighbours may be even higher than official figures, as just a third2 (31 per [CH1] [WC(LG2] cent) of Brits have acted in response to a noise dispute with their neighbour. The most common causes of excessive noise are playing loud music (19 per cent), hosting parties (16 per cent), animals (13 per cent), children and arguments (both 12 per cent).

Councils appear to be taking noise complaints increasingly seriously, as 4,015 noise abatement notices were issued last year, a rise of 15 per cent on the year before when only 3,487 were issued. However, this still means fewer than one per cent of complaints end up with a notice issued. An abatement notice from a local authority may require that the noise be stopped altogether or limited to certain times of day.  People served with a notice have 21 days to appeal.

The Noise Act 1996 specifies that night-time lasts from 11pm to 7am for noise purposes3 and any excessive noise within that time is considered anti-social behaviour. Over half (52 per cent) of Brits have been affected by excessive noise from neighbours between these times within the last 12 months. Although a third (33 per cent) of Brits believe excessive noise should not be permitted past 9pm. One in seven Brits (13 per cent) think there is never an appropriate time to make excessive noise.

When it comes to resolving noise disputes, almost two thirds (65 per cent) of victims tried to tackle the matter by speaking to their neighbour. However, in only half (53 per cent) of these cases did it lead to the issue being resolved. Other common actions taken were reporting them to the council (28 per cent), speaking to their landlord (20 per cent),  reporting them to the police (16 per cent).

Sarah Khan, Head of Churchill home insurance, said: “Noise can be extremely disruptive to our lives, especially if we feel it is excessive and during antisocial hours when we’re trying to rest or sleep.  As a nation it seems we have become less tolerant to noise over the last few years, but we are also home a lot more now as so many of us work from home or have a hybrid working patterns.

“There are rules governing noise so if you are affected then try speaking to your neighbours and explaining the problem and impact. If that doesn’t work, then keep a record of the type of noise and time of day it happens and speak to your local council about raising a noise complaint. You should also check your home insurance policy as you may find you have Legal Protection cover to pay for potential legal costs if you had to take legal action to get a resolution.”

Regional findings

London receives the most noise complaints in the UK, recording nearly 152,000 complaints last year and accounting for a third (34 per cent) of the total. This amounts to one complaint per 46 households, which is nearly four times the average outside of London (one per 12 households).

Six of the top 10 local authorities for noise complaints last year were in London, with Islington leading the way at over 14,000, a 41 per cent increase compared to two years ago. North Lanarkshire was the only council in the top 10 to see a reduction (-13 per cent) in the volume of complaints compared to two years ago. At the other end of the scale, Argyll and Bute in Scotland received just one complaint for noisy neighbours, Runnymede in Surrey received just nine and Melton in Leicestershire just 59.

Table one: Councils which received the most noise complaints in 2021/22

Local council

Noise complaints, 2021/22

Percentage increase vs 2019/20

London Borough of Islington


41 per cent

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea


One per cent

London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham


25 per cent

City of Westminster


22 per cent



45 per cent

London Borough of Newham


16 per cent

North Lanarkshire


-13 per cent

London Borough of Wandsworth


73 per cent



34 per cent



Five per cent

UK total


10 per cent

Source: Churchill Home Insurance 2022

Table two: Regional noise complaints  


Noise complaints, 2021/22

Percentage increase vs 2019/20

Share of all complaints 2021/22



22 per cent

34 per cent

South East


19 per cent

11 per cent



-4 per cent

9 per cent

North West


21 per cent

7 per cent

Yorkshire and the Humber


10 per cent

7 per cent

West Midlands


32 per cent

6 per cent

East of England


36 per cent

6 per cent

South West


22 per cent

6 per cent

East Midlands


14 per cent

5 per cent



3 per cent

4 per cent

Northern Ireland


11 per cent

3 per cent

North East


25 per cent

3 per cent



10 per cent

100 per cent

Source: Churchill Home Insurance 2022

Yorkshire has the highest rate of penalties to noise complaints, issuing more than 2,000 over the past three years, the equivalent to one for every 10 complaints. While London leads the way in complaints, it has the second-lowest rate of issuing penalties for noise disturbances, issuing one order for every 79 complaints. This is second only to Northern Ireland, with one in every 88 complaints.

On a council level, Rotherham in South Yorkshire issued the greatest number of penalties for noise disturbances, with 527 last year, followed by Manchester (147) and Fife (146). Bradford (137), Kensington and Chelsea (106), Westminster (96), North West Leicestershire (85), Leicester (62), Bristol (58) and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (55) complete the top 10.


Notes to Editor

1 FOIA request to all local councils across the UK made in June 2022. A total of 290 (77%) local authorities provided a response, of which 242 (64%) provided usable data

2 Research conducted by Opinium amongst 2,000 UK adults between 21st – 24th June 2022

3 https://quietliving.co.uk/loud-music-after-11pm/#:~:text=Yes.%20There%20is%20legislation%20that%20covers%20noise%20pollution,noise%20purposes%2C%20nighttime%20lasts%20from%2011pm%20to%207am.

For further information please contact:

Chelsey Wheeler
Deputy Head of News and Issues – Direct Line  

Tel: 01651 832 095

Email: [email protected]


Founded in 1989, Churchill is now one of the UK's leading providers of general insurance, offering car, home, travel and pet insurance cover over the phone or on-line.

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