Ice cream vans and church bells – the most unusual noise complaints Leeds City Council receives

More than 2,400 noise complaints have been made to Leeds City Council over the past two years, new figures show.

Objections relating to issues as diverse as construction sites, ice cream van chimes, model aircraft, church bells and even shooting have been made to the authority during 2017 and 2018, according to data released by the council via Datamill North.

Leeds City Centre was the area which saw the most commercial noise over a two-year period.

Leeds City Centre was the area which saw the most commercial noise over a two-year period.

The data appears to show Leeds City Centre suffering from a large proportion of the complaints, while areas such as Burmantofts and Richmond Hill; and Headingley and Hyde Park also suffering.

We have helpfully broken down the data, so you can see exactly how many times excessive noise has been reported in your area, and what kinds of noises people have been complaining about.

Among these, a surprising number related to noise made by the chimes of ice cream vans, with 21 instances of individuals getting angry enough to complain to the council.

Unfortunately these complaints were spread out around the city, so it isn’t possible to relate these to the chimes of one particular vehicle.

Some in the city struggled to enjoy their Sunday morning lie-in, as the authority received 16 complaints relating to noises from religious buildings, including church bells, clocks and calls to prayer. Three of these complaints came from Harewood.

The authority even received three complaints relating to noise made by model aircraft – one each in Headingley, Horsforth and Kirkstall, suggesting northwest Leeds is a hotbed of model aircraft enthusiasts.

A total of 12 complaints were made relating to noise from fairgrounds, though each related to a different ward.

Complaints regarding buskers were made to the council 17 times, with well over half of these coming relating to Leeds city centre.

On a more serious note, there was a total of eight noise complaints related to “shooting”, each from a different ward.

However, the council said that, of the eight complaints, only one related to the shooting of shotguns on farmland. A further six were instances of “shouting” incorrectly recorded by complainants.

In terms of the highest numbers of noise complaint by type, commercial/industrial activities (544), licensed premises (508) and construction sites (384) top the charts, while there were also more than 200 complaints about PA systems and loudspeakers.

Predictably, the council ward with the highest number was the former City and Hunslet ward – which covered most of Leeds city centre, until ward boundaries were altered in May 2018 – with 346 complaints over the two-year period.

Within the ward, a total of nine complaints were made relating to buskers, while commercial alarms, licensed premises and construction noise complaints made up the bulk of the complaints.

The ward with the second highest number of complaints was Little London and Woodhouse, with 121 – since the boundary changes, this now covers almost the whole of the city centre.

Commercial activity, construction sites and licensed premises (pubs and bars) made up the bulk of noise complaints in the ward.

Leeds City Council made clear that the statistics relate to commercial noise, while domestic complaints are recorded differently.

A spokesperson said: “This is different to day-to-day domestic noise that someone might experience from a neighbour for example in terms of playing loud music, TVs, DIY, or dogs barking.

“Domestic noise is addressed by our dedicated Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team (LASBT), while commercial noise, such as what is highlighted in your stats, is picked up by our Environmental Protection Team.”

The spokesperson added: “Tackling noise nuisance, both domestic and commercial, has and remains a priority for Leeds City Council. In terms of these particular figures, which relate solely to commercial noise, all complaints that we receive are investigated.

“If it is found that there is an ongoing issue with commercial noise, members of our environmental protection team will use a range of tools at their disposal to address the issue and find appropriate solutions to stop it.

“We are continuing to review our strategy and work to ensure that improvements continue to be made in how we address domestic and commercial noise. We would urge anyone who is suffering from noise nuisance to please contact us as soon as possible.”

Anyone wishing to record a noise nuisance should visit www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/environmental-health/noise-nuisance