Edinburgh holiday let culture gets blame for 17 new noise complaints every day

Fed up neighbours across the Capital are putting in noise complaints at a rate of 17 a day, newly released figures reveal.
Holiday lets may have contributed to noiseHoliday lets may have contributed to noise
Holiday lets may have contributed to noise

There were 18,170 grievances to the city council between 2015 and 2017 – the second highest outside London after Belfast.

Campaigners have blamed holiday let culture and poor insulation while city chiefs pointed to the number of complaints dropping over the three years.

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Green councillor Steve Burgess said: “It’s striking that the three highest areas are in London, Belfast and Edinburgh, all three of them capital cities, with high density living in flats and tenements and with a wide range of people living cheek by jowl.

“Once you add into the mix some very poor sound insulation, whether in older tenements or inadequate standards for some post-war flats, it can be a perfect storm.

“The dramatic rise in poorly-managed, privately-rented property may also be a factor. In my experience noise nuisance can happen throughout the city. For the residents affected by persistent, loud noise at anti-social hours, it can be a nightmare. A lot of the answer has to be about respecting neighbours’ right to peace and quiet. Physical improvements like better sound insulation can also help.

“And ultimately, in cases of serious disturbance, it may be necessary to involve the police. It’s perfectly possible to have a bustling capital city without being a noisy city.”

Research for TV property guru Phil Spencer revealed 6,945 noise complaints in Edinburgh in 2015, dropping to 6,738 in 2016 and 4,487 in 2017 – the last full year figures were available. Commercial noise, including from factories and building sites, fell from 1,157 in 2015 to 1,154 in 2016 and 1,017 in 2017.

Domestic noise, from raucous parties to barking dogs, dropped from 5,619 in 2015 to 4,847 in 2016 and 3,384 in 2017.

And street noise – anything from car alarms to ice cream chimes – fell from 123 in 2015 to 106 in 2016 and 48 in 2017.

Phil Spencer, co-founder of Move iQ, said: “It should hardly come as a surprise to those lucky enough to live in a city as beautiful as Edinburgh that people want to come visit it – including the noisy ones.

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“Not only does the city draw millions of tourists to marvel at its magnificent castle, visit Holyrood House or clamber up Arthur’s Seat, but the Scottish capital is also host to the annual Comedy Festival.

“The festival itself is so noisy that many residents choose to take a holiday to avoid the hustle and bustle. Putting up with the occasional noise disruption is part and parcel of living in a gorgeous city.”

A city council spokeswoman said it was wrong to assume Edinburgh was noisier than other cities as the data failed to compare noise levels or cases by local authority area.

“But as the nation’s Capital – and a heritage area where many residents live in a relatively compact and heavily tenemented space – noise is one of the issues our officers help to address,” she said.

“They have witnessed a year-on-year decline in the number of complaints being made, which has actually dropped by a third in three years.”