Kingston was ranked the fifth quietest borough in London, with only four boroughs seeing less noise complaints per 100 households, a recent survey revealed.
Confused.com sent Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to councils across 100 cities, asking for their noise complaint records between July 2019 and September 2020.
London was ranked the noisiest city in the UK, with 515 noise complaints made out of 10,000 households.
Westminster was the noisiest borough with 24,756 noise complaints, averaging at 20 complaints per 100 households, whereas Harrow was the quietest with only 666 noise complaints averaging at 1 complaint per 100 households.
Jessica Willock, a home insurance expert from Confused.com, said: “It’s no fun living in a noisy neighbourhood, and it seems some areas across the UK are a lot worse for noise pollution than others.”
Kingston upon Thames was ranked the fifth quietest borough in London, averaging at 130 complaints per 10,000 households.
On the other end of the scale, both Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham featured in the top five noisiest boroughs.
Phil Harris has lived in Kingston for five years and agreed that the area is quiet compared to places he used to live.
Harris said: “It is very quiet here in Kingston, probably because a lot of the borough is covered by Bushy Park, Richmond Park, and Hampton Court, and also has the Thames running through it.
“In comparison, Camden where I used to live is extremely noisy from the traffic, footfall and a late-night bar a few doors away.”
However, Harris admitted to contacting the police and the council regarding noise complaints in Kingston.
Harris said: “On two occasions I had to call the police for a noise complaint on my neighbours having a party, but they didn’t do anything about it.
“When I contacted the council, they wanted a detailed summary with times and dates, so in these instances, I would take matters into my own hands.”
Similarly, Katie Turner added: “In 2019 I complained nearly every day for six weeks about noise to the council, but nothing was done, and each time I was ignored.”
According to the FOI data, 64% of Brits have never complained about a neighbour, compared to the 30% of Brits who have complained, which implies a fear of doing so and also a lack of energy to carry one out.
Moreover, 34% of people admitted they would not issue a complaint to avoid tension with their neighbour, which ultimately calls into question the validity of the survey results and if some of these boroughs are really as ‘quiet’ as they are made out to be.
Declan Carey chose to live in Kingston as it was close to where he worked, and it had good links to central London.
Carey said: “The lack of noise complaints is, on one hand, unsurprising because it is a quiet area with lots of families and high rents.
“On the other hand, there is a university here and some student flats, so I thought that might have caused some tension.
“There are some students in the flat above mine, and we have a WhatsApp chat to communicate any issues, and this has prevented any problems.
“I would feel uncomfortable making a noise complaint, but if the problem was that bad and the neighbours just wouldn’t listen, I would accept that it has to be done.”
Kerry Giles disputes the claim Kingston is a quiet borough.
She said: “I live near the main road with a train line in my back garden, we literally can’t hear each other talking in the garden when the trains go past, and my flat vibrates as a result.”
Loud music accounts for 50% of the noise complaints listed in the survey, followed closely by loud parties at 43%.
Trojan Margetts used to live in Herne Hill in Lambeth, which is the ninth noisiest London borough according to this survey.
Margetts said: “Herne Hill was very loud right next to the station.
“There were lots of parties, lots of bars, lots of loud drunk people, and this was the primary reason I moved.”
Out of those who complained, the majority (52%) preferred to settle with their neighbour directly, compared with 49% saying they’d report to the council, and 33% opting to call the police.
Margetts would prefer to call the police as it would be difficult to pinpoint which neighbour to complain to as he lives in a block of flats.
“There are laws protecting us from certain noise, it’s our right to enjoy peace and quiet,” Margetts added.
Gabrielle Analise completely disagrees, saying: “I’d definitely try and settle it with my neighbour directly.
“I’d only make a complaint as a last resort, as it would feel unfair to involve the police or the council without first broaching the subject with my neighbours directly.”
The full campaign conducted by Confused.com can be found here.