close
Time to be good neighbours

Time to be good neighbours

April 23, 2020

With everyone social distancing and being home for the majority of the day, it is time to think of others and be thoughtful, good neighbours.

“While you may be keeping yourself busy with a bit of gardening or DIY, joining in the latest online workout, or playing a high-spirited game with the children, it is easy to forget that sometimes our actions can have an impact on those around us” said Councillor Joanna Camadoo-Rothwell, Ealing Council’s cabinet member for community safety and inclusion.

DIY and gardening waste

Lots of households are keeping themselves busy at the moment with DIY and gardening activity – but these activities often result in extra waste. While the council is continuing to collect garden waste from those who subscribe to the service, all reuse and recycling centres, which would normally be the place to dispose of DIY or garden waste, are closed until further notice.

Therefore, before you start on any big DIY or gardening jobs, consider how you will dispose of waste, or how you will safely store it until you can dispose of it.

Garden waste could be composted where possible, but if not you can bag it up and store it, ready for when you can dispose of it.

DIY waste will need to be bagged, stored and disposed of when the reuse and recycling centres reopen. Do not put rubble waste into your general household bin. If you have arranged for a skip, ensure you have seen the operator’s waste disposal licence. You can check on the council’s website to see the local, authorised companies that hold a licence. If they do not have one then do not use them, because they would not be licensed to dispose of your waste and are highly likely to fly-tip it in one of your local streets, parks or open spaces. And, do not forget, any fly-tipped waste traced back to you would mean you are liable for a fine and/or prosecution, not necessarily the person you paid to take it away in the first place.

For a small charge, bulky waste items can be collected and disposed of – find out more here.

Bonfires

Whether you decide to store your waste or arrange for it to be legally disposed of, it is best not try to dispose of it through a bonfire.

All residents are being asked to think of others and to not light bonfires during the current coronavirus lockdown. The effects of bonfires at this time are likely to be much more serious and have a bigger impact than normal.

Exposure to smoke can cause considerable distress to those who are self-isolating, who are vulnerable to COVID-19 because of respiratory problems or who may already have COVID-19 symptoms and are keeping windows open to ventilate their homes.

Bonfires can also easily get out of control and cause accidents, resulting in calls to our already stretched emergency services.

The council will take enforcement action against any persistent offenders where bonfires cause distress for surrounding neighbours. You can report bonfires here.

Noise nuisance

With everyone at home and possibly working from home for long hours every day, normal household noise that previously would have seemed at a very low level can become quite intrusive and it can feel as if there is little or no escape from it.

The council’s noise nuisance team have seen complaints relating to normal living noises, and of course, in most cases there is little the council can do to address this type of noise. So we may have to all practice being a bit more patient with:

  • Neighbours who have small children and accept that they enjoy running, shouting and screaming while they play
  • Neighbours who may have a hearing impairment, so TVs and radios could be a little louder than we may like in our own homes
  • Neighbours who choose to do a bit of DIY, resulting in some drilling or banging during the day.

Loud music

The recent good weather has seen many make use of their gardens or balconies and play music to accompany their activities. Please consider your neighbours, check with them that the volume levels are not intrusive or that you are not disturbing the sleep pattern of a small child or shift worker.

If your neighbour persistently plays music at a loud volume during the day or at night, you can report it to the noise nuisance team.

Building work

Commercial building work is still permitted, and this includes building work on people’s private homes. Again, because people are home during regular building work hours, they are now much more aware of the normal building site noise which previously they would not have heard. This has led to an increased level of complaints received.

Permitted working hours for building sites have not changed. So, in most circumstances, the council is unable to formally intervene. If the building works take place outside of normal daytime hours or over weekends/bank holiday periods, then the council can investigate and assess if the builders are contravening any regulations. Report concerns online.

And finally

Councillor Camadoo-Rothwell added: “It is important to be especially considerate at this time, when people are confined to their homes and unable to escape noise or unpleasant bonfire smoke. So, please, be a good neighbour, stay home, stay safe and stay well.”