The John Connell Awards are named after the NAS’ far-sighted founder John Connell OBE, who lobbied the Noise Abatement Act through Parliament in 1960 when noise became a statutory nuisance in the UK for the first time. These annual awards, known as the ‘Noise Oscars’, are now in their 15th year. They acknowledge the importance of the quality of sound in our lives, and champion vital advances in reducing the negative impact of unnecessary noise for the public benefit. Over 160 recipients from local authorities, industry, organisations and individuals have been honoured for the significant impact they have made to improve the aural environment.
The 2016 John Connell Awards Ceremony was held on 2nd November at the Palace of Westminster and kindly hosted by Bob Neill, MP for Bromley & Chislehurst. The attendees included Members of Parliament, local authorities, acoustics experts, companies committed to providing quieter products and services, and high profile individuals who campaign for a more peaceful environment. Speakers included Mark Pritchard, Member of Parliament for The Wrekin in Shropshire, Sonia Phippard, Defra’s Director General of Environment, Rural and Marine and Ben Rimmington, director of Road Safety, Standards and Services at the Department of Transport.
The John Connell Award winners for 2016 are:
- LOCAL AUTHORITY AWARD
Controlling unwanted noise in the community is one of the many tough responsibilities of Local Authority Environmental Health Teams. This Award, kindly sponsored by DHL, recognises services, campaigns and programmes that are shining examples of community co-operation, education and creative solutions to solving noise nuisance problems.
As a densely populated part of London, the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea is the first borough to mandate a ban on noisy working on Saturday mornings, within its Code of Practice for Building Construction. This makes the Council the first in the country to give residents respite from disruptive construction noise across the whole weekend.
The Council feels that the added cost to developers and contractors is balanced by the significant benefit to residents and the code endeavours to encourage architects and developers to design-in minimal adverse impact on neighbours, from the outset of a project.
Derby Homes administers the City of Derby’s council housing, and is commended for being an early adopter of the Noise App – this very recent innovation is set to profoundly change the way Local Authority noise complaints may be dealt with.
The user friendly App is calibrated and may be used by residents to record the noise nuisance in real time with input capability for location as well as diary entries that may be admitted for court purposes. The information goes straight to Derby Homes to take an immediate view as to appropriate action. This new way of recording noise nuisance has reduced response time, overheads and improved resident satisfaction.
Due to budget restraints, Sheffield City Council’s night noise service became untenable. By integrating the diverse legislation of other stakeholders with their own, the new ‘Night Time Enforcement Team’ can deal with complaints where noise is a factor, but would fall outside the normal remit of the Environmental Protection Act. This new approach enables the Team to provide a ‘One stop shop’ – dealing with often complex issues affecting the wider community during the night time which is more effective as well as financially sustainable.
- QUIET CITIES COLLABORATION AWARD
This Award, kindly sponsored by the Freight in the City (RTM), recognises innovation and collaboration in sustainable urban deliveries, with a specific focus on reducing the noise impact.
More than 90% of freight in London is transported by road, particularly evident in the morning peak where freight vehicles account for 25% of traffic. By avoiding these times, freight operators can reduce congestion and operate more efficiently. This can lower the risk of collisions, particularly with cyclists and pedestrians, improve air quality and decrease business running costs.
The TfL Retiming Deliveries Consortium is made up of representatives from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Camden Council, London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames, London Councils, Transport for London, Freight Transport Association, the Road Haulage Association, the Noise Abatement Society, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Ashfords LLP. It was set up in October 2013 to lead the way for retimed deliveries, promoting and encouraging retiming without noise disturbance through guidance tools, engagement and collaboration.
The results have been impressive – to date 237 premises have been retimed in London, equating to 80,000 deliveries, across 27 boroughs, working with 25 businesses and 77 consortium sites. And the programme is due to formulate part of the forthcoming Transport Strategy, currently being developed by the Mayor’s office.
With the right level of support and collaboration and when carried out responsibly and quietly, deliveries can take place at different times to suit residents, businesses and operators, and be a viable part of a sustainable logistics strategy.
- INNOVATION AWARD
This Award, kindly sponsored by Institute of Acoustics, encourages the development of new schemes to resolve noise pollution, recognising a pioneering approach that addresses this issue from a unique standpoint.
Sonobex’s pioneering patented noise reduction technology uses innovative manufacturing processes and new acoustic metamaterials, to produce breathable, high performance barriers that deliver noise reductions of 34dB with low mass and crucial airflow.
This makes it possible to provide noise control measures in the most comprehensive and cost effective manner, especially where limited space is crucial.
- SOUNDSCAPE AWARD
Winner: THE CITY OF LONDON CORPORATION
This Award, kindly sponsored by ROCKWOOL recognises significant advances in the practical application of Soundscape principles.
Managing noise in a City presents a complex challenge due to the density of development, population and vast transport network. Yet the sounds of the City are also regarded by many as a vibrant and an exciting reflection of a thriving urban centre.
The City of London Corporation’s ten year Noise Strategy includes creative measures to promote iconic sounds, disappearing sounds, sound art installations and identification of tranquil areas with policies to protect and enhance these spaces. It has now dedicated a significant part of its programme to Soundscape management in line with the new International and British Standard.
- SILENT APPROACH AWARD
This Award, kindly sponsored by Brigade Electronics, recognises significant initiatives to reduce noise nuisance for the benefit of the community to improve the environment.
The London Bridge Redevelopment Project, a consortium of London Bridge Station, Southwark Council, Network Rail, and Costain is transforming the UK’s fourth busiest railway station to offer its annual 54 million passengers more space and improved rail connections.
The innovative and collaborative approach over the past four years has facilitated 24/7 construction around an operational railway station, while successfully mitigating noise impacts to the surrounding community.
This iterative approach includes dedicated noise monitoring regimes, innovative construction techniques and proactive stakeholder communication.
- QUIET LOGISTICS AWARD
Winner: PRET A MANGER
This Award, kindly sponsored by the Freight Transport Association, recognises advances in low noise technology in transport to facilitate quiet delivery and services.
Pret A Manger is proud of its strategic approach to reduce its environmental impact across all its stores, 200 of which are in London.
Because it operates like a restaurant with kitchens close by, there are no sell-by dates on its fresh sandwiches and salads. While this is great for customers, it means the daily, overnight delivery and servicing profile is one of the most expensive and complicated in the ‘convenience food’ market.
Against this backdrop, working with its logistics partner, it invested heavily in fifty first-class dedicated vehicles, fitted with the quietest equipment on the market today.
- QUIET MARK AWARD OF DISTINCTION
This Award, kindly sponsored by Anderson Acoustics, recognises advances in low noise technology in transport to facilitate quiet delivery and services.
Quiet MarkTM is the international mark of approval awarded by the Noise Abatement Society for excellence in quiet design and solutions to improve the aural environment. The special Quiet Mark Award of Distinction, sponsored by Anderson Acoustics, is given to a company who has shown outstanding advances in low-noise technology and innovation.
Founded in 1899, Miele is proud of its long standing commitment to deliver high performance, low noise products to enhance the consumer experience. This manufacturer clearly embraces ‘Quiet’ as a priority in its product development and marketing – it’s part of its DNA.
Miele’s concern with the sound quality of its products as well as decibel level is further evidence of its commitment to the importance of excellent acoustic design.
- SPECIAL COMMENDATION AWARD
Winner: Patrick Shen
This Award is given in recognition of the Noise Abatement Society’s founder John Connell OBE. With it we honour an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to raising the profile of noise pollution as a critical environmental issue.
For three years, Patrick Shen filmed around the world on a mission to explore mankind’s relationship with silence. The resulting film/documentary ‘In Pursuit of Silence’ has been described as a wake-up call about the danger of allowing constant excessive noise into our daily lives without challenge.