Handheld decibel meters have been ordered by Derry City & Strabane District Council to clamp down on noise neighbours.
DC&SDC Director of Environment & Regeneration, Karen McPhillips, has confirmed the devices, which record sound levels on a chip and can then be provided to the landlords of noisy tenants, have been ordered by the local authority.
The equipment, once it is delivered, will be available for deployment by Community Safety Wardens (CSW) in Derry, and by private citizens upon request in Strabane, where there are no CSWs.
Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley said: “The issue of noise nuisance from particular properties has been raised at a number of community safety meetings I have attended recently.
“It appears that the occupants of a small number of households persistently engage in activities which are not only disruptive to neighbours but, in particular cases, can also lead to violence and injury.
“It is a slow and time-consuming process for agencies such as council and housing providers to collect evidence of noise nuisance which would allow for corrective measures to be put in place and it is also a strain on PSNI resources to attend to every noise complaint it receives from residents.”
Colr. McGinley said that at a recent meeting of the Outer West Neighbourhood Renewal Area Safety Team, which covers Ballymagroarty, Hazelbank, Rosemount and the Glen, it was reported the CSW were limited in how they could respond in the absence of equipment to monitor noise.
“It was agreed at the meeting that Council officers would explore if the warden’s role could be amended to give them sufficient scope to use hand held monitoring devices if these could be supplied in sufficient numbers. It was also agreed all the agencies would work together to share information on noise nuisance properties and that the PSNI would respond quickly to calls from neighbours which related to these particular households,” said Colr. McGinley.