Edinburgh’s noisy neighbour recording plans shelved

Monday February 26th 2024

Edinburgh-council-office


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Donald Turvill

A plan to get Edinburgh council tenants to secretly record their noisy neighbours for the local authority to investigate is set to be shelved, amid concerns it would lead to too many complaints.

Officials were tasked with exploring whether a ‘noise recording app’ could improve the complaints process and curb anti-social behaviour – but concluded audio evidence would be of ‘very limited value’.

Encouraging disgruntled residents to document disturbances could increase tensions between neighbours and “may also give rise to significant numbers of complaints, which would impact on current resourcing,” they said.

While an app could verify the ‘general location’ of a noise it would be unable to verify where exactly it is coming from, according to a report going to the housing committee on Tuesday, February 27.

It comes after a councillor argued the move could help to substantiate “genuine complaints” which he said are often “one person’s word against another’s.”

Cllr Danny Aston, SNP, said such apps are already used by housing associations in the city and other local authorities, and could be adopted in Edinburgh to help to resolve the “huge” number of reports the council receives from its tenants.

Calling for the scheme to be explored last year, he said many are caused “misery” and “frustration” as a result of unresolved noise complaints.

“Problem neighbours can really ruin your quality of life – waking your baby up, robbing you of sleep, making it impossible to concentrate on work. It’s a miserable situation which I’ve experienced myself,” he told the LDRS.

However officials concluded the app – estimated to cost around £17,000 – “should not be pursued at this time”.

Complaints about household noise “are often challenging for officers to investigate, as well as being challenging to substantiate,” the report said.

“While seeking to work with those affected to help them resolve the situation as quickly as possible, addressing the underlying cause of behaviour is more likely to resolve the situation for the longer-term.

“Digital applications may offer some benefits to some residents complaining of antisocial behaviour, however, these benefits do not outweigh the limitations and challenges of using such applications in investigating antisocial behaviour.”

Research suggested while an app could verify the general location of a noise they are “unable to pin-point the exact flat in a property block”.

The report added: “These limitations mean that any recordings made using a digital application will be of very limited evidential value in any court proceedings, and the investigating officer will continue to rely on current methods of responding to complaints as described above.

“While a digital application may be another route for residents to notify the council of a noise issue, officers will still be required to respond as they currently do.

“Introducing a digital device like an app may also give rise to significant numbers of complaints, which would impact on current resourcing.”

Tweet Share on Facebook  
 

Subscribe to the Midlothian View newsletter




Support Midlothian View from as little as £1. It only takes a minute. Thank you.

Comments are closed.