South West has the lowest number of noise complaints in the UK

South West England receives the least noise complaints per population. The figure, released annually by the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health (CIEH), confirms that in 2018/19, the region received on average 35 complaints per 10,000 of the population and equates to roughly half of the national average for England.

The World Health Organisation report that noise is a significant burden to health, second only to that from air pollution, yet noise remains the single largest issue of complaint made to local authorities in England1 with a 9% increase in the number of noise complaints in the last three years2.

Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) investigate all complaints that could represent a statutory nuisance. Of the 11,161 recorded noise complaints across 16 local authorities involved in the study in the South West of England, 262 notices were served by local authorities and 7 noise related prosecutions were made. Testament to the EHPs who aim to informally resolve cases without the need for formal enforcement action.

In contrast, Greater London had the highest number of noise complaints, 183 for every 10,000 people, more than double the national average and more than 5 times the number of complaints per population received in the South West. Residential noise accounted for the largest proportion of noise complaints in most areas with other recorded noise complaints arising from the street, vehicles, machinery and equipment, dogs, agriculture, alarms, military, traffic, aircrafts and railways.

Local, North Devon based, Acoustic Consultant, Rob Shaddick, MSc, MIOA, of Soundguard Acoustics Ltd said: ‘Noise remains the single largest issue of complaint made to local authorities in the UK with profound impacts upon peoples wellbeing and quality of life. Whilst we are fortunate to live and work in the South West with the lowest incident of noise complaint, Local Environmental Health Practitioners do deserve recognition for their ongoing dedication and commitment in resolving noise complaints and protecting the nation’s public health.’

If you need assistance with a noise impact assessment or noise complaint then contact Soundguard Acoustics Ltd at

1 Health impacts of All Pollution – what we know? Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer, 2017. 2 Compared with the last time CIEH collected noise data in 2015/16, the 2018/19 data shows a 9% increase in the number of noise complaints in the 65 local authorities which participated in the survey in both years.