Local Authorities sweep the boards at the ‘Noise Oscars’

Local Authorities demonstrated their innovative side last night at the 10th annual John Connell Awards, dubbed the ‘Noise Oscars’.

The awards, held by the Noise Abatement Society, 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 were 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:

“It was very difficult to judge the winner from the very high standard of entries that we received, but the overall winners of the John Connell awards demonstrated the successful creation and implementation of practical solutions. These solutions, together with the resulting partnerships that evolved have significantly helped to reduce noise pollution, enabling us all to benefit from a more harmonious environment.”

The Local Authorities winners were revealed as:

Sheffield City Council, which won the Local Authority Award, sponsored by quietrevolution™. This 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.

Sheffield City Council Noise Team 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 enabled strong links to be built with the Local Authority and also with complainants.

The 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.

Stephen Crosher, Commercial Director at quietrevolution said: “Local authorities have an incredibly difficult task to police and control noise pollution within our communities. quietrevolution is determined to be part of the solution by providing a small wind turbine that is incredibly quiet and we are keen to play our part within the low carbon energy revolution without impacting on individuals and communities. We also want to be known as a company who listens to local issues and one that strives to continually improve our products to address any concerns that arise.”

Highly commended entries for this award were:

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

Cardiff Council 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.

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

The Council 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.

Other Local Authority winners were Joint Local Authority Regulatory Service (JLARS) for the Innovation Award and Southwark Borough Council and Temple and Mace for the Silent Approach Award.

The 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 Joint Local Authority Regulatory Service (JLARS) was the receipient of this award for its co-operation between local authorities and developers in the construction of the Olympic Park, and to ensure the legacy of collaboration continues long after 2012.

JLARS includes the London Boroughs of Hackney, Waltham Forest, Newham and Tower Hamlets and the Olympic Delivery Authority to co-ordinate and standardise local authority regulatory service delivery. JLARS has delivered new ways of cross boundary working, and is being used as a template for other partnerships across the country. Joint working protocols like these can help local councils save money and ensure that they operate more effectively and efficiently in the future.

The 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.

Southwark Borough Council and Temple and Mace were the recipients of this award for the glass Temple and Mace ‘Shard’ building, which will be the tallest iconic building in Europe, a “vertical city” with a mix of hotel rooms, offices, apartments and viewing galleries, sited adjacent to Guys Hospital and London Bridge station.

Its construction over a period of three years London Borough of Southwark’s environment protection team played a lead role in trying to minimise the noise impact of the building project on local residential and business communities.

Significant consultation with the council and collaboration with Temple and Mace has resulted in a series of best practice procedures to address the problem of disruption and noise disturbance in a dense urban situation. This has also become a template for other major construction sites in the future.

Philip Hanson-Abbott, managing director, Brigade Electronics said:

“It is with great pride that we work with the NAS to support and recognise other organisations which work to this aim, and, if real environmental progress is to be achieved it is imperative that such initiatives are distinguished and promoted.”

“Brigade is committed to keeping noise pollution to a minimum. There is a significant challenge to alleviating our environment of needless noise and congestion, whilst keeping the community safe and properly supplied. Our bbs-tek white sound reversing alarms are a key element of helping to achieve this goal.”

For more information on the Awards or to see the list of winners, visit www.noiseabatementsociety.com

ENDS

Media contacts: Sarah Whelband or Emma Batchelor 01732 779 087 or 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 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 reversing alarm and rear detection system to Europe and the first rear view 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 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 www.noiseabatementsociety.com

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