Loud music, shouting and banging are more common causes of complaint than noisy parties, a study by MORI for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs found.
As many as two in five people annoyed by noise have complained to their neighbours, councils or police, the report says, with one in four sufferers (28%) complaining to those making the noise.
As part of the research, people in Banbury, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leicester, London (Newham) and Thirsk kept daily diaries of their experiences of noise nuisance. The report also studied 'high noise risk' neighbourhoods in Dundee, Greenwich, Lewisham and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Defra minister Lord Whitty said: 'Tackling noise pollution is a priority for the government, and for the public. Our research reveals the extent of the problem of noisy neighbours, and gives us a basis on which to come up with ways to reduce the impact of noise on people's lives.'
Lord Whitty was due to present the annual John Connell Awards, given for excellence and innovation in curbing noise, at a UK Noise Forum conference today. He added: 'It is a real pleasure to present this year's John Connell Awards.
All the nominees and winners made important contributions to controlling noise and improving many people's quality of life.'
Winners were Leeds City Council, and technology firms Acoustiblok UK and Brigade Electronics.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. MORI interviewed 6,116 people throughout Britain from 12 December 2002 to 27 January 2003. A further 2,066 interviews took place from 27 March to 30 April 2003 in Dundee, Greenwich, Lewisham and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
2. Defra today pu blished Neighbour Noise - Public Opinion Research to Assess its Nature, Extent and Significance, a report of the study, and two more reports looking at ways of tackling noise nuisance - Phase 2 of Research in Neighbour and Neighbourhood Noise in England, Wales and Other Countries in the EU, by Environmental
Resources Management; and Implications for Noise Disturbance arising from the liberalisation of licensing laws by MCM Research.
3. They are online here
4. The John Connell Awards were established by the Noise Abatement Society to raise awareness of problems associated with noise and to develop new ways to tackle these.