Winners of the 11th annual John Connell Awards, dubbed the ‘Noise Oscars’, were announced by the Noise Abatement Society (NAS) last night at a packed awards ceremony in the House of Commons.
The awards are designed to recognise and promote innovative ideas and initiatives from Local Authorities, industry, individuals and organisations that have made a positive impact on the reduction of excessive noise in the community, helping to improve the aural environment.
They 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 theUK.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach, Parliamentary under Secretary of State, Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), said:
The NAS provides a vital conduit between government, industry and academia, piloting creative and pragmatic schemes to reduce the effects of noise on communities.
Gloria Elliott, chief executive of the Noise Abatement Society, said:
We live in an increasingly noisy society and many of us are unaware of the destructive effect that noise pollution can have on health, learning, productivity and quality of life. Each of the winners of the John Connell award categories have made an outstanding contribution to creating practical solutions to help reduce noise pollution, enabling us all to benefit from a more harmonious environment.
The awards were hosted by Mike Weatherley, MP for Hove and Portslade, on behalf of the NAS Trustees, who commented of the event:
The John Connell Award ceremony is a unique event which applauds the unsung heroes who work tirelessly to make our lives quieter, here and around the world. We have heard of pioneering technologies and practices that show initiative, cooperation and determination to tackle the complex issues of noise pollution.
The Award Winners and Categories Are:
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.
Winner – 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.
Highly Commended: GloucesterCityCouncil
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.
Highly Commended – 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 Worcestershire County Council. This amalgamation has led to a major transformation in management systems to 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.
Enterprise in Quiet Transport
sponsored by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) – this award is given in recognition of exemplary transport and delivery schemes working for the public benefit.
Winner: Carrier Transicold
Carrier Transicold is leading the way in Quiet Transport and enabling the potential for out-of-hours deliveries in urban areas. Carrier Transicold has continued to innovate by adding the new Vector 1550 City model to its family of PIEK certified units. This, together with the Vector 1850CityMTovercomes many of the challenges of distribution in urban or sensitive areas. The mono and multi-temperature refrigerated trailers operate at a level of under 60dBs, as required by PIEK, and a full 10 dBs lower than most typical tractor units. Being able to operate more quietly has meant the option of delivering out of hours, which in turn leads to greater efficiency in the supply chain, improved road security, and reduced traffic congestion, pollution and fuel consumption.
Highly Commended: Bosch Rexroth Silence Plus gear pumps
Rexroth developed SILENCE PLUS to reduce noise pollution in hydraulic systems. For decades now external gear pumps have demonstrated their usefulness as rugged and economical workhorses. Their primary features – pressures up to 280 bar, extremely high efficiency and low price – have come to be taken for granted. Their noise also became something of a given. The new technology developed by Rexroth for Silence Plus external gear pumps points toward a future with (almost) silent hydraulic systems. Pumps powered by electric motors, with virtually no hydraulic noise, are predestined for use not only in manufacturing plants and warehouses but also in supermarkets and beverage shops. Domestic applications such as passenger lifts, parking lifts and log splitters profit from the development. Garbage presses behind supermarkets and hotels can be operated all day and it is acceptable for forklifts to load and unload even at night.
This 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.
Winner: Organ of Corti
This unique and beautiful experimental instrument recycles noise from the environment. It does not make any sound of its own, but rather uses sounds already present by framing them in a new way – “recycling sounds”. Named after the organ of hearing in the inner ear, it uses the acoustic technology of sonic crystals to accentuate and attenuate frequencies within the broad range of sound frequencies present, like road traffic or falling water. By recycling surplus sounds from our environment, it offers new and pleasurable ways of listening to what is already there.
sponsored by the Institute of Acoustics – this award applauds the vital role that industry can play in reducing noise pollution in our environment.
Winner: Linde Frostcruise Cryogenic in-transit refrigeration system
FROSTCRUISE™ is an efficient, economical, cryogenic in-transit refrigeration system. It provides an eco-friendly solution for the transportation of perishable chilled and frozen food, based on the use of liquid nitrogen (LIN) as the refrigerant. FROSTCRUISE™ is low-noise and operates much more quietly than diesel-operated refrigeration systems and can therefore be used to deliver at night or at early hours.
Highly Commended: Echo Barrier H1 and range of products
Echo Barrier is a temporary acoustic barrier designed for use on major construction projects to reduce problems of excessive noise pollution from work sites. The Echo H1 acoustic barrier literally soaks up sound around it rather than reflecting it, attenuating noise by up to 30dB. Designed for quick and easy installation on standard Heras fencing or similar, the H1 is aimed at sites where it is important to reduce noise levels and maintain good community relations, such as in residential and public locations. The benefits of reducing on-site noise using Echo Barriers are considerable, including reducing the likelihood of noise complaints, creating a more productive working environment, and extending site operating hours and ultimately significant cost savings.
Trude Adler Award
This award celebrates the unsung heroes who make our world a better – safer, healthier, quieter – place to live and to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude.
Winners: The Women of Sibson and Geraldine Nicholson
The Women of Sibson and Geraldine Nicholson, the Chair of the local campaign group No Third Runway Action Group (NoTRAG), have been recognised for their tireless and exemplary work with residents and community stakeholders. Campaigning with John Stewart against BAA’s plans to build the third runway at HeathrowAirport, this group of formidable women have kept fighting since 2005: to save the school they sent their children to, the community they grew up in, the pub, the church, the village shop: fighting to stop the forced removal of thousands of people, their friends and neighbours.
Silent Approach™ Award
sponsored by Brigade Electronics – this award encourages development in the area of reducing noise to the benefit of the community whilst enhancing the environment.
Winner: Professor Jian Kang,UniversityofSheffield, for Soundscapes in Urban Open Public Spaces
Open public spaces are important elements of urban areas. However, in many such spaces the quality is significantly affected by the unsatisfactory soundscape, which could be ‘too noisy’, or ‘too vibrant’, or ‘too quiet’. A Soundscape approach, however differs from conventional noise control engineering, and represents a paradigm shift in that, it combines physical, social and psychological approaches and considers environmental sounds as a ‘resource’ rather than a ‘waste’.
In recent years, Professor Kang has systematically carried out a series of pioneering projects, funded by the University of Sheffiled and institutions across the globe, to research the improvement of soundscapes in urban open public spaces, with a series of outcomes, including: Tools and Design Guidance published by the EU; Computer modelling simulations; and a Soundscape Database of over 10,000 field interviews for predicting users’ perception of and developing evidence and understanding of soundscapes in urban open public spaces. His work has changed the way that soundscapes in the public realm will be perceived, understood and developed inspiring a new generation of architects, policy makers and urban planners.
Highly Commended: BAM Nuttall for Derby Station
The NAS receives numerous complaints about the cacophony of sound often found in railway stations
The transformation of this station, however, its aesthetics and soundscape, has delivered a welcoming gateway to the city. The rejuvenation of the station was the product of the collaborative efforts of Network Rail, BAM Nuttall, White Young Green, TG Baker and Balfour Kilpatrick, who have exemplified best practice soundscape management. A silent approach was considered throughout the process, from white noise reversing alarms, hydraulically powered concrete chainsaws to ambient noise sensing PA systems providing a pleasant overall soundscape for travelers.
European Soundscape Award
sponsored by Environment Agency (EEA) andBrigade Electronics – this new award recognises important initiatives undertaken inEuropeto improve the aural environment for the benefit of all. It aims to encourage and disseminate good practices that can assist other European countries embarking on aural improvement programmes, especially in urban environments.
Winner: The Municipality of Wijchenand the province of Gelderland
The Graafseweg reconstruction project represented a unique combination of measures to produce an innovative, atttractive and sustainable solution to traffic noise reduction. To appease residents and reduce noise along a busy road, five basic measures were adopted which, together, would prove to be as effective as the previously suggested four meter high sound barriers which would divide the town. By moving and reducing the number of lanes of traffic, partly sinking the road, installing low-level sound barriers, using special ‘quiet’ asphalt and reducing the maximum speed through Alverna, a reduction in noise levels of more than 10 dB could be achieved.
Highly Commended: NSG’s – the Dutch Noise Abatement Society – Electric Heroes Campaign
NSG, the Dutch Noise Abatement Society wanted to tackle one of the top three most complained about noise inHolland– scooters and mopeds. They launched a campaign targeted at 16-24 year old to entice them to switch to electric scooters, with the “Electric Heroes – Go smart, Go electric” initiative. The E-scooter hardly produces any noise and is far cheaper to run than traditional petrol/diesel ones. Young people were encouraged to sign up for the 2 day e-scooter test-drive, produce a movie of the experience, upload it, and be in with a chance of winning an e-scooter if the public voted their video the best. The NSG is continuing to raise awareness of e-scooters and the residual benefits to city dwellers.
Quiet Mark Award of Distinction
Launching in December 2011 is Quiet Mark, the international mark of approval awarded by the Noise Abatement Society for excellence in quiet design
Encouraging manufacturers to think low-noise addresses the consumers desire for stress-free living at home and in the workplace and will help to improve the natural aural environment
The special Quiet Mark Award of Distinction will be given annually to a company who has shown outstanding eco-quiet values.
The leading car manufacturer LEXUS has been recognised for the prominent ‘Join the Quiet Revolution’ campaign. This high profile consciousness raising initiative resonates with the NAS Quiet Mark’s remit to champion manufacturers of quiet consumer goods. Extolling the benefit of quiet, its value to the consumer and the environment, Lexus continues to drive the eco-quiet market forward to the benefit of our soundscape.
11th Anniversary Lifetime Achievement Award
In recognition of our founder, John Connell OBE, and the 10th Anniversary of the Awards in his name, the NAS will honour key individuals who have made outstanding contributions to raising the profile of noise pollution as a critical environmental issue and who have worked tirelessly over the course of their careers to effect solutions for the public benefit.
Professor Bridget Shield has been recognised for her continuing work on the effect of noise and poor acoustics on children and teachers in primary schools. Bridget’s research has informed new legislation on the acoustic design of schools and, in 2003, she was appointed by the Department for Education and Skills, as editor of Building Bulletin 93 which contains the statutory acoustic performance specifications for schools, under the Building Regulations.
Bridget Shield, Professor of Acoustics in the Faculty of Engineering, Science and Built Environment at London South Bank University has many years’ experience of teaching, research and consultancy in environmental and architectural acoustics. She is the author of over 70 published papers and her research interests have included prediction of industrial noise, community response to railway noise, concert hall acoustics (with Professor Trevor Cox), and annoyance caused by low frequency noise.
Professor Shield was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Acoustics in 2007, and is currently President-elect of the Institute.
Bernard Berry has been awarded this accolade for his continuing work and expert advice on the effects of noise. He has been a consultant to industry, Governments, local governments, the EU and has collaborated on research projects with a number of organisations.
He is an Adviser to the World Health Organisation [WHO] European Centre for Environment and Health [ECEH] in Bonn, and a member of the WHO Working Group on Aircraft Noise and Health.
He has published over 120 papers in academic journals and conference Proceedings, reports and book chapters, and given more than 100 presentations at conferences.
He is Chairman of the main British Standards Institution [BSI] Technical Committee on Acoustics.
He was President of the Institute of Acoustics from 1996-1998. And was the Institute’s Vice-President for International Relations from 2001 to 2007. In October 2009 he was presented with the Institute’s Award for Distinguished Service – “for his outstanding contribution to the life of the Institute”.
In April 2010 he was elected a Distinguished International Member of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering of the United States of America. This distinguished, honorary status is conferred upon individuals who have personally made extraordinarily significant contributions to the theory and/or practice of noise control engineering.
Photos of the event are available here