‘Noise Oscars’ Finalists Announced for Local Authority Award

John Connell awards celebrate 10th year

Brighton, 3rd November 2010 – Local Authority finalists for the 10th annual John Connell Awards, dubbed the ‘Noise Oscars’, have been announced by the Noise Abatement Society.

The awards are named in honour of the Society’s founder, John Connell OBE, who successfully lobbied the Noise Abatement Act through Parliament in 1960 when noise became a statutory nuisance for the first time in the UK. The awards will be kindly hosted at the House of Commons by Mike Weatherly MP for Hove and Portslade on behalf of the Noise Abatement Society (NAS) Trustees, and are designed to recognise and promote innovative ideas and initiatives from Local Authorities that have made a positive impact on the reduction of excessive noise in the community, helping to improve the aural environment.

Gloria Elliott, chief executive of the Noise Abatement Society, said:

“John Connell called noise the ‘forgotten pollutant’ as many people are unaware of the destructive effect it can have on health, learning, productivity and quality of life. The finalists of the Local Authority awards have created practical solutions to reduce noise pollution, enabling us all to benefit from a more harmonious environment.”

Local Authority Award, sponsored by quietrevolution™ – celebrates initiatives, campaigns and schemes concerning noise that are shining examples of co-operation, raising awareness and creative solutions for improving quality of life in the community. The finalists in the Local Authority category are:

Bradford Metropolitan District Council: Case Assessment Initiative

Bradford’s Environmental Protection Team has introduced a new initiative, which involves working in collaboration with Community Accord, a conflict management organisation based in Bradford. Instead of automatically sending out noise log diaries to noise complainants, the cases are now referred immediately to Community Accord for initial assessment. This ensures that before any action is taken, each complainant gets an opportunity to speak to a well-trained independent case assessor who has expertise in conflict management as well as the pros and cons of different intervention methods, including law enforcement and mediation. Latest figures in September 2010 show that 88% of complainants decided to use mediation or other alternatives to resolve their noise problem.

Cardiff Council: Co-operation, Cohesion and Co-location

Cardiff Council has established a revolutionary reactive night-time noise service, which is the first of its kind in Wales. This service enables the public to make complaints about noise whilst the disturbance is actually happening. This two-year plan has improved cohesion and collaboration between the Police, Anti-Social-Behaviour Team, Cardiff Council Private Sector Housing Team, and the Local Authority Housing Service. Cardiff residents now receive a more effective service with clearer lines of communication, leading to faster and more effective complaint resolution.

Islington Council: Pioneering Partnership Arrangement for Noise Patrol Service

To strengthen the out of hours noise service, Islington Noise Patrol, Homes for Islington and the Anti-Social Behaviour Team partnered together, leading to big gains in the resolution of noise problems affecting the borough. Through visits, meetings and training days, officers from each team learnt to understand the mechanics of how each service functioned and evolved a joint working strategy. Promotion of the service through publicity of enforcement actions has lead to an increase in demand for the service, greater sharing of information, and a significant increase in customer satisfaction as a higher number of cases has been resolved. Officers have clearly seen the benefits, residents are reassured and Councillors are pleased with the new improved results; the new arrangement, therefore, is set to continue.

North Lincolnshire Council: Responding to Anonymous Noise Complaints and Collaborative Working with Council Housing Managers

The Council has introduced a new system for dealing more effectively with noise complaints. A leaflet is posted informing the offender and nearby addresses that the council has been made aware of a noisy property in their neighbourhood. The letter also contains advice on how to help resolve the matter, and inviting people to submit a formal complaint in order for the Council to investigate the matter further.  The Council also works together with Housing Managers to streamline noise complaints and uses noise-recording equipment to capture evidence of noise disturbance. This is used in an ‘acoustic suite’ where perpetrators are able to hear the noise they made and then discuss it constructively. Dog wardens are also used in cases of persistent barking dogs, to offer expertise and advice, to try and solve the problem as a first step before a formal notice is given.

Sheffield City Council: Partnership Working to Deliver a Night-Time Noise Service

Sheffield City Council Noise Team has developed a unique way of working with the South Yorkshire Police force, which provides a non-uniformed officer to accompany the Council’s Environmental Noise officer when responding to noise complaints. This partnership enables strong links to be built with the Local Authority and also with complainants. This night team works alongside Sheffield’s Arms Length Management Organisations and Registered Social Landlords and has been extensively publicised across the community. Since the new night service introduction, demand has increased by 58% as the public has become aware of its existence.

Teignbridge District Council, South Devon: Low Frequency Noise Referral Scheme in Partnership with South Devon Healthcare Trust

Teignbridge District Council’s ground-breaking new referral and support system has led to a swifter and more effective way of dealing with sufferers of Low Frequency Noise disturbance. Sufferers are offered a hearing test at Torbay Hospital audiology department where the issues can be discussed and if there is an underlying health problem, such as tinnitus, possible solutions can be offered like sound therapy or relocation techniques. The Teignbridge Environmental Protection Department and the investigating officer are then able to finger-print the noises that exists and track the source.

Several Local Authorities, have also been shortlisted for the following awards, with winners being announced on the night:

Innovation Award – aims to encourage the development of new solutions to resolve noise problems, using a pioneering approach that addresses this issue from a unique standpoint. The winner of this award is nominated by the Noise Abatement Society and will be announced on the night.

Silent Approach™ Award, sponsored by Brigade Electronics – encourages developments in the area of reducing noise to the benefit of the community whilst enhancing the environment. The winner of this award is nominated by the Noise Abatement Society and will be announced on the night.

Winners of the John Connell Awards 2010 will be announced at the awards ceremony on 9 November which will also be attended by representatives from government, local government, industry, science and academia from the UK and abroad. For more information on the Awards or to see the list of finalists, visit  HYPERLINK “http://www.noiseabatementsociety.com” www.noiseabatementsociety.com

ENDS

Media contacts: Sarah Whelband or Emma Batchelor 01732 779 087 or  HYPERLINK “mailto:sarahw@westgatecomms.com” sarahw@westgatecomms.com

Notes To Editors

quietrevolution™ – Sponsors of the Local Authority Award – Developers and promoters of wind turbine solutions and the role they play in helping combat climate change. quietrevolution’s aim is to play a leading global role in the local energy revolution and has developed an elegant and innovative vertical axis wind turbine. This cutting edge technology has been designed in response to the growing demand for renewable technologies and demonstrates that turbines can be elegant, quiet and a long-term, cost effective solution for generating energy. For more information visit  HYPERLINK “http://www.quietrevolution.com” www.quietrevolution.com

Brigade Electronics – Sponsors of the Silent Approach™ Award – Brigade Electronics is the market leader in vehicle safety systems. Established in 1976, it single-handedly promoted the cause of reversing safety, bringing the very first HYPERLINK “http://www.reverseinsafety.co.uk/products/reversing-alarms”reversing alarm and rear detection system to Europe and the first rear viewHYPERLINK “http://www.reverseinsafety.co.uk/products/camera-monitor-systems” camera monitor system to the UK. Today it is still the only company in the world to provide a full range of reversing safety systems for all types of commercial vehicle and mobile plant machinery to protect driver, passenger and pedestrian. For more information visit  HYPERLINK “http://www.reverseinsafety.co.uk” www.reverseinsafety.co.uk

About Noise Abatement Society – The objective of the Noise Abatement Society is to raise awareness of and find solutions to help relieve the physical and mental distress and ill health which noise and related pollutants cause and which profoundly affect public health, productivity, the quality of life and marine and wildlife. The Society was established in 1959 by John Connell OBE, who successfully lobbied the Noise Abatement Act through Parliament in 1960, establishing noise as a statutory nuisance for the first time in the UK. The Society operates a free advice helpline for those people that are suffering from noise nuisance. For more information contact 01273 823 850 or visit  HYPERLINK “http://www.noiseabatementsociety.com” www.noiseabatementsociety.com

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