Belfastâ€™s only dedicated night time noise service has dealt with approximately 45,000 complaints since it was first established 10 years ago.
The figures were revealed today by Belfast City Council – the only local authority in Northern Ireland to provide this service for ratepayers â€“ as it marked a decade of success for the unit.
The service was set up in 2000 after the councilâ€™s pollution control unit carried out a survey into the nature of complaints it received, to see if they could identify any particular trends.
Siobhan Toland, head of Belfast City Councilâ€™s Health and Environmental Service, explained: â€œAt that time, the council didnâ€™t operate a night time noise service, yet that was when most people were experiencing problems.
As a result, complaints were being made to other authorities such as the police, Housing Executive and landlords who didnâ€™t have the power or resources to effectively deal with the issue, thus leaving people feeling frustrated.
â€œExcessive noise of any kind can make life a misery and as a council we are committed to enforcing the legislation around noise control where appropriate, to help improve the health and well-being for every resident in Belfast.â€
The dedicated night time noise team was introduced in August 2000 when Belfast City Council adopted the provisions under The Noise Act (1996) which allows it to effectively deal with noisy neighbours by way of warning notices, Â£100 fixed penalties and, in the most serious cases, a prosecution.
Last year, the service dealt with 6,062 complaints â€“ around 82 per cent of which related to noise coming from private dwellings.
Seventy per cent of all complaints are made to the night time noise team directly with the most frequent being complaints about loud music and parties.
Prior to the serviceâ€™s introduction in 2000, the council received around 1,000 complaints per year.
Councillor Ian Adamson, chairman of the councilâ€™s Health and Environmental Services Committee, said: â€œThis is a really excellent service which is there for the benefit of all Belfast residents.
No one should have to put up with noisy neighbours making their lives a misery.
â€œThe advantage of having a dedicated team to work during the night means officers can call out when they receive the complaint, witness the noise for themselves and assess the disturbance itâ€™s creating there and then.
And, most importantly, they can take immediate action.
â€œItâ€™s worth pointing out though that the majority of people are very cooperative when they realise a complaint has been made about them and in 96 per cent of cases where a warning notice has been issued, there is no repeat offence.â€
As well as dealing with complaints about loud music, parties and barking dogs, the council has recently raised awareness about the noise nuisance caused by faulty intruder alarms.
The council has powers to take action against faulty alarm systems in the city, and the property owners will be billed for any costs incurred.
In order to prevent such problems, the council is encouraging homeowners and businesses to register their details with us and request a key holder registration form.
For more information on the councilâ€™s noise team visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/noise