people dancing to loud music illustration

Nuisance Neighbours

A never-ending battle: The Great British neighbour dispute

Whether it be an intrusive garden hedge, a football kicked over the fence or a long-lasting feud, many of us Brits have had troubles with a neighbour at some point in our lives.

But just how big is the problem? How many Brits today are causing a nuisance in their neighbourhood? The Solar Centre decided to do some digging.

Total complaints in the UK

The new research, collected under the Freedom of Information Act, pulled together responses from 181 UK councils on noise, statutory nuisance and anti-social behaviour (ASB) complaints made between 2016-2021.

After tallying up all the data, the study found that over 1.3 million complaints were made throughout the UK in the last five years. That is the equivalent of seven packed out Glastonbury Festivals, with each person complaining!

Total Complaints UK

15 Wembley Stadiums
7 Glastonburys

Leeds is the UK hotspot for neighbour disputes

Of all the council responses, it was Leeds that had the highest number of complaints of anywhere in the UK. A hefty 65,847 complaints were made between 2016-21.

The most common complaint in Leeds was against loud music. Leeds is a great music city of course, but clearly this is not a key selling point for homeowners in Leeds!

Interestingly, Leeds was one of the few areas in the UK that didn’t receive most of their complaints in 2020 – a year of several national lockdowns. In fact, in 2016 Leeds City council received their highest number of noise, nuisance and ASB complaints in the last five years.

leeds cityscape

2020 was a record year for neighbour complaints

pie chart

The North West had the biggest increase in complaints in 2020

The total number of complaints in the North West over the last five years was 128,984, but the real interesting find was the difference from 2019 to 2020.

In 2019, there were 23,338 complaints in the North West, but this increased to 32,792 in 2020 – an increase of 41% year over year.

There was a common theme in terms of the number of complaints in the UK according to the data – a considerable increase in 2020.

The annual average for complaints in the UK between 2016-19 was 232,960. This increased by 28.4% to 299,077 complaints in 2020.

Scotland was the only region in the UK that had a decrease in the number of complaints in 2020.

With the country plunged into lockdown for much of 2020, it appears we’ve reached the end of our tethers faster than usual. Clearly, being forced to spend more time in the company of our neighbours, there has been more potential for them to get on our nerves!

Some of the weirdest, whackiest and funniest neighbour complaints

  • cannabis leaf Drug production
  • couple in bed on a monitor Loud porn
  • couple in bed Sex
  • hanging club sign Running brothel out of their room
  • two people dancing Dancing on doorstep
  • skull and crossbones Solvent abuse
  • man jumping on trampoline Aggressive trampolining
  • gun Starting pistol to quieten dog
  • mouth with tongue out Licking and stroking neighbour's car
  • wind chimes Wind chimes
  • bird Bird scarer
  • television TV
  • finger pointing to left Menacing gestures
  • faeces Human faeces
  • cctv camera CCTV over property
  • nappy Throwing nappies off balcony
  • binoculars Voyeurism
  • rat Verminous property
  • syringes Syringes
  • urinating Urinating
  • shotgun Shooting
  • skateboard Skateboarding
  • facebook logo Facebook threat
  • children playing ball Children playing

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