Leader: Everybody needs good neighbours

GOOD neighbours are to be prized. New survey evidence finds that nearly a million families across the UK have been forced to move house because of disputes with neighbours.

Among the most frequent causes for bad blood are houses and gardens left in disrepair, excessive noise, arguments over boundaries and trespassing children. The poet Robert Frost may have brought us the wisdom that "good fences make good neighbours". But this does not extend to giant leylandii hedges, untended trees that block out light - and ferocious dogs.

Disputes with neighbours cause one in 20 to sell up and move on. What an upheaval and expense this is. But surely as deserving of consideration is the plight of millions who simply resign themselves to noisy hedge trimmers and leaf blowers, wandering defecating dogs and ear-splitting bursts of the Grateful Dead at odd hours. Grievances and irritations over car parking habits and wheelie bin etiquette can fester for years before erupting in fiery verbal explosions and acts of violence.

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As 27 per cent of the population rarely speak to the neighbours, that leaves acts of annoyance and discourtesy to do the talking. We, whose simple pleasures are Wagner opera and musical water features, are perfect. Isn't it always the neighbours in need of an Asbo?