DUDLEY recorded more than 3,000 complaints about noisy neighbours during the coronavirus pandemic, an investigation has found.

A total of 3,240 complaints about noise nuisance were recorded by the authority between April 2020 and March 2021 when multiple lockdowns forced people to stay at home for much of the time.

The figures have been revealed after Churchill Home Insurance sent Freedom of Information requests to all councils in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The research compiled from data provided by 269 councils (70 per cent) revealed, between April 2020 and March 2021, 368,924 noise complaints were made across the UK – a 28 per cent rise from the previous year, with 86 per cent of local authorities reporting increases.

Councillor Laura Taylor-Childs, Dudley Council's cabinet member responsible community safety, said of the findings: “We take all complaints about noise very seriously and remind people of their responsibilities.

"In extreme cases we will not hesitate to prosecute people through the courts if they do not take advice and continue to breach acceptable levels of noise. If people do have any complaints about noise they can let us know online at www.dudley.gov.uk or call 0300 555 2345.”

Churchill Home Insurance also commissioned polling by Opinium of 2,000 adults in the UK between July 23 and 27.

Around a third (32 per cent) of respondents said their mental health had been negatively affected by noise from neighbours.

The worst type of disturbance was neighbours playing music (34 per cent), followed by noise from children or garden noise (30 per cent), parties (29 per cent) and coming and going at anti-social hours (24 per cent).

Only 11 per cent who said they had been affected by noisy neighbours said they had reported it to their local council - suggesting the true number of noise-related issues could have been much higher, Churchill Home Insurance said.

In 29 per cent of cases the person affected spoke to their neighbour, but the majority said they were unsuccessful in stopping the noise.

Others contacted the neighbour’s landlord (16 per cent) or reported them to the police (14 per cent).

Steven Williams, head of Churchill Home Insurance, said: “The pandemic has seen us confined to our homes which means we’ve probably all become very aware of noises around us.

“As we go into more of a ‘new normal’, many of us will carry on working from home, at least part of the time, so noisy neighbours will continue to be really disruptive.

“It may be the case that neighbours don’t realise they are being noisy so the first step should always be speaking to them and explaining the problem.

“If that doesn’t work and they carry on, then keep a record of the type of noise and time of day, and speak to your local council about raising a potential noise complaint.”

Psychologist Donna Dawson said the rise in complaints was understandable given the upheaval in people’s routines.

She said: “Even small changes in sound can cause increased anxiety and stress for many people, especially if it disrupts home life and makes it difficult to relax, work or look after family.”

She recommended people speak to their neighbours, but not when they are feeling anxious or angry.

Councillor Nesil Caliskan, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Stronger and Safer Communities Board, said: “With many people living in high density, urban areas, complaints about noise nuisance are common.

“Councils are doing what they can to respond to noise complaints in communities, and to tackle persistent behaviour that makes peoples’ lives a misery."

He said additional investment in regulatory services was needed to ensure councils are able to effectively respond to such issues - and he added: “Dealing with increased reporting of noise nuisance has added to the pressure on council environmental health teams that are already overstretched."