Local Authority finalists for the 11th annual John Connell Awards, dubbed the ‘Noise Oscars’, have been announced today by the Noise Abatement Society (NAS), and award sponsors, Rockwool.
The John Connell Local Authority awards are the only one of their kind 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.
Speaking about the award, Paula Bateman, Rockwool’s Corporate Affairs Director said: “We are passionate about supporting the NAS and Local Authorities in their work to alleviate issues of noise. We are delighted to be sponsoring this distinctive award which recognizes the innovative schemes to reduce the impacts of noise on our busy lives.”
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 finalists are invited to the prestigious ceremony, hosted by Mike Weatherly MP for Hove and Portslade on behalf of the NAS Trustees, which will take place at the Palace of Westminster, on the evening of Tuesday 8th November 2011.
Gloria Elliott, chief executive of the NAS, 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 whilst operating within diminished budgets. Working collaboratively across agencies we are seeing Local Authorities dealing effectively and ingeniously for the benefit of their residents and businesses. It has been inspiring to consider their work and solutions.”
John Connell Local Authority Award 2011 sponsored by Rockwool, 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 award will be presented on 8th November at the House of Commons by Bob Neill MP, Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
The finalists for the 2011 Award have been announced as:
Elmbridge Borough Council – Empowering local residents and businesses to deal with noise 24/7 – a web solution and campaign
Elmbridge Borough Council’s Noise Team has been developing a comprehensive website that offers advice and support to residents and businesses “Bothered by Noise”. The team has worked collaboratively with social housing providers, mediation services and the Police.
Faced with the loss of their out of hours noise service in April this year the team’s solution was to develop “Deal with noise, your online Toolkit”. The Online Toolkit is full of innovations and seeks to empower residents and businesses to deal with noise 24/7. The development of this interactive website allows audio/visual evidence to be simply uploaded along with a complaint of noise as well as providing a quick guide for what to do out of hours.
Strong visual branding has been a key feature of the Toolkit and has added to its success with the local community and partner agencies.
Gloucester City Council – A holistic and sustainable approach to dealing with Neighbourhood Noise complaints
Gloucester City Council has streamlined the noise complaint system with the aim to mitigate the source of the noise more efficiently, and minimize its effects on residents.
The environmental protection team has abandoned the use of Noise Log Sheets and aims to dispatch an officer upon receiving a complaint in order to witness the noise as it is occurring.
Working collaboratively with Gloucester Constabulary, the team has aimed to better signpost its noise service amongst other partner agencies such as Project SOLACE, a joint Police and city council funded Anti-Social Behaviour Team, Gloucester City Homes and Police Safer Communities Teams, so that they can draw on the City Council’s experience and resources, avoiding replication of data and procedures across partnership agencies.
Maidstone Borough Council – Partnership approach to “Dealing with neighbour noise” – setting up expectations and solutions
The Maidstone Environmental Enforcement Team consulted with Safer Maidstone Partnership on tackling the issue of neighbour noise and providing effective support to a growing problem.
From this collaboration clear, pragmatic guidelines were drawn with the aim to improve solutions and limit the need for external agency involvement.
The team produced a comprehensive leaflet, “Too Loud is not Allowed – Dealing with Neighbour Noise” clearly explaining the different steps of noise mitigation and what the complainant can expect from contacting the different partnership agencies. Information also provides residents with a simple step by step guide to solving or escalating the problem, and supports community partners with a better understanding of how to deal effectively with noise issues.
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.
Swale Borough Council – Collaboration with Partnership Agencies and Proactive Public Engagement
A joint noise response service, trialled with the local constabulary force, has initiated closer partnership with the police and better sharing of resources across agencies.
Working proactively with Safer School Partnership, the Environment Response Team continues to extend its reach by raising awareness amongst students on the impact of noise, and how to be a responsible resident. As part of this education initiative, Swale also partners with Kent Fire and Rescue service to target young drivers, focusing on car stereo sound levels, and the impact of excessive noise inside, and emitted from, cars. Swale is also active in the community, creatively communicating the role of positive sounds and enhanced listening.
Westminster City Council, London: Developing a Noise Strategy through public consultation which enables effective mitigation, whilst building enhanced soundscapes
Westminster City Council have been developing and working within a detailed and comprehensive Noise Strategy since 2008. The objectives of the strategy are to manage noise from commercial premises and events, tackle transport noise, ensure sound-aware planning and building design, control noise from construction and utilities work, protect people from health-damaging noise, enhance the soundscape, encourage positive sound and minimize neighbourhood noise.
Westminsterhas responded to the challenge of understanding the noise environment by building detailed evidence base. This has been achieved through noise attitudinal surveys, noise measurement studies, analysis of noise complaints data, open-space noise study and aircraft study.
The Noise Strategy has been seen to promote the issues of noise and endorse the action required from partners to get results.
Worcestershire Regulatory Services – redesigning principles of workflow and direct action to enhance effectiveness
Worcestershire Regulatory services is a new shared service formed in June 2010, bringing Environmental Health & Licensing services from 6 Districts (Bromsgrove, Malvern, Redditch, Worcester, Wychavon and Wyre Forest) together with Trading Standards at Worcester County Council. This amalgamation has led to a major transformation in management systems – assessing workflow, establishing the purpose of the service and challenging current logics to redesign the process.
The Noise Nuisance team, using “System Thinking” has since become a more customer-centric service, defining and agreeing with the complainant the next course of action, taking direct action to deal more efficiently and effectively with noise issues, and doing away with lengthy noise log sheets and largely ineffectual warning letters.
Several Local Authorities have also been considered for the following awards, with winners being announced on the night:
Innovation Award – aims to encourage the development of new solutions to resolve noise pollution 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 development in the area of reducing noise in logistics and delivery 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 will be announced at the Awards Ceremony on 8th November at the Houses of Parliament, which will also be attended by representatives from DEFRA, Department for Transport, Olympic Delivery Authority and Transport for London, among others.
For more information on the Awards or to see the list of finalists, visit www.noiseabatementsociety.com