CLUCKING chickens, DIY, and wind chimes are among the noisy nuisances making lives a misery in Wrexham.
The council recorded hundreds of noise complaints this year with the usual suspects such as barking dogs, booming music and loud TVs topping the charts.
But neighbours are being driven mad by more than just radios, stereos, car alarms, shouting and swearing.
In Wrexham complaints also featured crowing cockerels and the sound of people doing DIY – or even just walking on laminated floors in neighbouring flats and houses.
Also on the list were people having sex too noisily, coughing next door and church bells ringing.
On average the council receives 600 complaints a year with many being neighbour disputes.
Some are resolved through mediation, some are classed as anti-social behaviour and referred to the police and community safety partnership and others result in legal action.
But only a handful end up finally being prosecuted, said Helen Cook, Wrexham council’s senior environmental health officer.
She said: “Noise nuisance can be very subjective and what is noise to one person may be pleasure to another, but a general rule of thumb is to ask if the noise is excessive and would it be considered unreasonable by the majority of people?
“Many of the noise nuisance complaints we receive come from neighbour disputes and a lot could be avoided if people took the time to talk to each other.
“When people get along they tend to be more tolerant and understanding of each other, but increasingly differing lifestyles mean many people don’t know or interact with their neighbours.
“Some people just don’t realise they are making a noise and others are very sensitive to it.
“Take the summer months when people tend to spend more time outdoors and have barbecues in their gardens.
“Every year we receive complaints about the noise associated with barbecues, many of which could be avoided by giving a little consideration to the neighbours and informing them in advance.”
The most frequent complaints were barking dogs, followed by loud music, televisions, radios and DIY.
In Wrexham, while the environmental officers try to strike a balance between education and enforcement, they do come across cases where prosecution is the only option.
“We do see some serious cases where the alleged offender has refused to co-operate and ignored all advice and warnings and in these instances we are left with no choice but to go for a prosecution,” said Helen.
“We take the case to court and this has resulted in offenders being fined and in some cases having their equipment such as music stereos and speakers seized.”
All complaints are investigated.
But to prosecute successfully, the council has to prove the noise substantially interferes with a person’s enjoyment of their property and land and it is excessive and unreasonable.
Complainants are asked to keep a “noise diary” for at least 14 days before a decision is made on whether to install monitoring equipment to gather further information.
If an officer decides there is a nuisance, a noise abatement notice is issued requesting the offender takes steps to prevent it.