New laws turn down the volume
Noise complaints have quadrupled in Scotland since new laws to deal with the problem came into force, delegates heard at the International Euronoise conference today.
Loud stereos and televisions, shouting, barking dogs, rowdy parties and DIY are the main sources of complaints, according to Scottish Government figures.
Opening the conference, Minister for Environment Roseanna Cunningham, said:
"The Scottish Government takes noise pollution very seriously and in recognition of our proactive stance on this problem we are proud that Scotland has been chosen to host such a prestigious event. It is particularly pleasing to be able to welcome delegates from all round the globe to Scotland in this year of Homecoming.
"Excessive noise can seriously affect people's quality of life. This four-fold increase in complaints is an inevitable consequence of local authorities publicising their complaints service and thus increasing awareness. But nevertheless this shows the new legislation is working and that the public now have the chance to report problems and get a speedy response.
"Reassuringly, less than one per cent of complaints received require a fixed penalty notice. The rest are dealt with by a verbal or written warning, and confirm the quick deterrent system is effective."
Figures presented at the Euronoise conference show that 40,000 domestic noise complaints were made in 2008, compared to about 10,000 a year prior to 2004 when new anti social behaviour domestic noise laws were introduced and councils and police set up and publicised 24/7 call centres to handle complaints.
The figures, from the Scottish Government Air, Noise and Nuisance Team, were presented at the eighth Euronoise conference held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and attended by 800 delegates from around the globe.
The European Acoustics Association asked the UK Institute of Acoustics to host this year's event and Scotland was chosen in recognition of the work done by the Scottish Government and local authorities to implement the 2002 EC Environmental Noise Directive.