Over-sensitive security lighting is one of a number of grievances people are voicing about their neighbours’ gardens this summer, research shows.

Within the last month, search interest for the term ‘nuisance neighbours’ has peaked several times in England, according to data from Google Trends.

And findings from a new survey have outlined just what UK residents find most annoying about their neighbours’ outdoor spaces.

The questionnaire asked members of the public whether they had any problem with the following garden issues: over-hanging trees and bushes; dogs running around barking; garden parties; over-sensitive security lights; late-in-the-day lawn mowing.

Of those people who did, a third reported overhanging trees and bushes as a serious grievance, while one in seven (14%) said they were bothered by oversensitive security lighting from next door’s garden.

According to the government’s department for environment, food and rural affairs, councils are required to look into complaints about artificial light from premises if the light could be classed as a ‘statutory nuisance’.

This means it must either ‘unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises’ or ‘injure health or be likely to injure health’.

If the local authority agrees that statutory nuisance is occurring it must serve an abatement notice, which requires the person responsible for the light to stop or restrict it.

Further analytics research shows that the term: ‘How to complain about a neighbour to the council’ receives an average of 170 searches per month in the UK over a 12-month period.

Rob Holroyd, digital manager at Lamp Shop Online, which conducted the survey, said: “The unusually hot summer we’ve been having has brought many opportunities to enjoy our gardens — but unfortunately that can also mean annoyances from neighbours’ outdoor activities.

“Although there’s no crime in hosting the odd garden party or barbecue, there is no reason for your security lights to be bothering your neighbours due to being too bright or sensitive — especially since they could be within their rights to report it,” Rob added.

In addition to the disturbance it might cause to neighbours, overactive security lighting could also be disrupting local wildlife, while adding unnecessary expense to your energy bills.

However, measures that homeowners can take to address the problem include:

ensuring the motion detector in your light fixture is aimed at the correct area by testing different sensor positions after dark and walking around the areas you want to secure
adjusting the sensitivity settings on your security lights so that it isn’t too easily activated
adjusting the light’s duration time — around one to two minutes is recommended
resetting your lights if they appear to be staying on or off all of the time — this can be caused by interruptions in the power supply
keeping your sensor clean by giving it a wipe with a wet cloth every so often.

“If you’re unsure of how to make the necessary adjustments to your security lights — perhaps because you’ve moved to a new house and inherited them — it’s advisable to contact a local electrician, who’ll be able to fix any problems and minimise unwanted neighbourly conflicts,” added Rob.

Other garden annoyances highlighted by respondents to the poll included barking dogs (29%), garden parties (22%) and lawn mowing at unsociable hours (5%)