Fife has ‘noisiest neighbours in whole of UK’

Householders in Fife made more complaints about noisy, messy neighbours than people anywhere else in the UK, a report has found.
Fife Council received complaints about issues such as noise, animals and mess. Picture: ContributedFife Council received complaints about issues such as noise, animals and mess. Picture: Contributed
Fife Council received complaints about issues such as noise, animals and mess. Picture: Contributed

An analysis of UK-wide council data found that Fife Council received 19,070 complaints about issues such as noise, animals, mess and household disrepair in the first nine months of last year – 53 per 1,000 residents.

It is the only Scottish council area in the UK-wide top ten.

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Glasgow, however, received one of the lowest volumes of complaints, with lower levels registered only in the Isles of Scilly – which recorded just one nuisance complaint – Gwynedd in Wales, Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire.

The report, from Churchill Insurance, found that more than 460,000 complaints were made UK-wide to local councils about neighbours and their behaviour, pets and property – 104,000 of these relating to filthy homes, messy gardens and vermin.

Martin Scott, head of Churchill home insurance, said: “These findings present a worrying picture of the effects other people and properties near our homes have on our lives. It’s a reminder to consider that our parties, pets and general property maintenance may be causing our neighbours undue amounts of stress.”

Noisy neighbours are the major cause of residential issues, with loud music, barking dogs or DIY irritating.In just nine months in 2013, councils had 200,120 noise complaints. Across Britain, local authorities issued 4,283 noise abatement notices to persistently loud residents. The condition of domestic premises, such as the state of garden and hedges, hygiene, vermin and pests, were the second-biggest gripes, accounting for 104,828 complaints.

Moans about rubbish left in gardens or alleyways accounted for 93,579 complaints, while problems around smells, fouling and damage caused by animals made up another 46,539.

Newcastle upon Tyne, Westminster and Stockton-on-Tees were the noisiest areas after Fife, while Belfast City, Tower Hamlets in London, Lewes and Cookstown in Northern Ireland were also plagued by complaints.

Roy Stewart, senior manager for protective services at Fife Council, said types of services could make it difficult to compare the situation across the UK – for example, a night-time noise team or pest control team might, in other areas, be the responsibility of external agencies and not counted in the report.

“Fife Council is very proactive in publicising the range of ways in which people in Fife can report concerns, including online reporting, which may also lead to a higher number,” he said.

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“And although every complaint is investigated fully, not every complaint is upheld. Indeed many, following initial investigation or even a simple phone call, can be resolved.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “The council delivers a range of services that support safe, sustainable communities. These aim not only to resolve problems between neighbours when they occur, but to stop them developing.”


Number of statutory nuisance complaints received

1 Fife19,070

2 Newcastle upon Tyne12,239

3 Westminster8,600

4 Stockton-on-Tees7,197

5 Belfast8,680