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 16th 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 2017 John Connell Awards Ceremony was held on 31st October at the Palace of Westminster and kindly hosted by Damian Collins MP for Folkestone and Hythe. 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 Dr Thérèse Coffey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defra and Member of Parliament for Suffolk Coastal, Damian Collins MP and Jo Webb, President of the Institute of Acoustics.
The John Connell Award winners for 2017 are:
- LOCAL AUTHORITY AWARD
This award, kindly sponsored by Rockwool, recognises that controlling excessive and unwanted noise in the community is one of the many tough responsibilities of Environmental Health Officers. Local Authorities are continually challenged to demonstrate imaginative and sustainable initiatives in the management of noise issues. The John Connell Local Authority Award recognises services, campaigns and programmes that are shining examples of community cooperation, education and creative solutions to solving noise pollution problems.
The HS2 Local Authority Noise Consortium was led by London Borough of Camden, Chiltern District Council, and Aylesbury Vale District Council, and the following Councils from Hillingdon, Three Rivers, South Buckinghamshire, Wycombe, Cherwell, South Northamptonshire, North Warwickshire, Solihull, Lichfield, Buckinghamshire, Warwickshire, and Staffordshire.
The scope of this collaboration, between no less than 15 Councils, has been an extraordinary example of how, despite budget and manpower shortages, it was possible to achieve substantially improved noise mitigation measures for this large scale infra-structure development, than was included in the original project Environmental Statement. It allowed the effects of noise on the health and wellbeing of the communities which could be adversely affected over the 18 years of construction, to be properly considered.
The consortium ran a cost effective, professional campaign, jointly funded, on a firm basis of governance, legal agreements, good personal relationships, and clear and agreed mutual benefits. A highlight of this was the Information Paper “Operational Noise and Vibration Framework”. High Speed Rail 2 Phase 1 is the first major infrastructure railway project to make this commitment to these noise mitigation measures.
Large scale noise disturbance from outdoor events involving PA systems, generators and fireworks pose a considerable challenge to Local Authorities. Charnwood Borough Council’s Environmental Protection team recognised the need to collaborate much more closely with event organisers, as well as their Food Safety, Licencing and Health & Safety colleagues, to provide a more substantial information guide with detailed noise mitigation measures, well before the event takes place. This new working practice has already resulted in a reduction of complaints from residents.
Noise complaints from housing estates developed in close proximity to industrial premises are problematic to deal with. Kirklees Council’s Environmental Health team looked at forging much closer working links with its Planning Enforcement and Development Control colleagues, overhauling the set of planning application conditions and instigating the need for a validation of works from the Developer to prove the works had been implemented. Impact to date has been very positive from both the Council Planning team and the Developers.
- SOUNDSCAPE AWARD
Winner: PRO PG – PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE GUIDANCE ON PLANNING & NOISE FOR NEW RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS; Highly Commended: MARTIN BROWER
This Award, kindly sponsored by Transport for London, recognises significant advances of Soundscape principles in line with the international standard BS ISO 12913-1:2014 and the practical application of the standard in the real world.
The Pro PG – Professional Practice Guidance on Planning & Noise for New Residential Developments was developed by a consortium from the Institute of Acoustics, Association of Noise Consultants and Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.
This landmark Guidance complements the UK Government’s National Planning Policy Framework and Guidance, and for the first time provides practitioners with an industry-recommended approach for new residential developments both internally and externally. It advocates full consideration of the acoustic environment through state of the art design principles from the earliest possible stages of the design and development control processes. It outlines what should be taken into account in deciding planning applications for new noise-sensitive developments, improves understanding of how to determine the extent of potential noise impacts and effects, and assists the delivery of sustainable development.
The Guidance’s collaborative and human-centric approach is perfectly aligned with British and International soundscape standards and establishes a new baseline for ‘good, better, and best’ for the benefit of all.
As an early adopter of quiet technology and staff training in its delivery to McDonald’s restaurants, the supply chain distributor, Martin Brower, was commended for its understanding of the holistic spirit of Soundscape principles through a variety of sustained best practices to enable efficient servicing without causing noise disturbance.
- INNOVATION AWARD
This Award, kindly sponsored by the Institute of Acoustics, recognises original thinking to successfully resolve a particularly challenging commercial noise issue. This award is for organisations including those distribution companies, logistics providers, retailers, local authorities and other key community-stakeholders who have successfully tackled noise disturbance through proactive noise reduction programmes, technology and design.
In the not too distant future most cars will be all-electric – however, this clean and quiet revolution also heralds a significant hazard to pedestrians, who may not be able to hear the vehicles approaching. Many car manufacturers were looking forward to introducing their own pure-tone ‘sounder’ warnings, each reflecting their own brand image – spilling a confusing cacophony of noise back onto the streets.
To avoid potential noise pollution, Brigade Electronics adapted broad band technology to produce its ‘Quiet Vehicle Sounder’. Easier for pedestrians to locate than pure tone sounders, and only heard in the danger area, these intelligent broad band sounders react to the ambient background so are not invasive and dissipate quickly. Safer and non-disturbing – a win-win for pedestrian and resident alike.
The environmental acoustics team, AECOM, worked closely with Transport for London to create a comprehensive visual matrix entitled ‘Quiet equipment and vehicles: making the right choice’, using case studies to demonstrate their benefits. Through innovative research and subsequent publication of the matrix on the Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) website, for the first time in the UK, freight operators and businesses receiving deliveries will be substantially better informed about the potential positive impacts of integrating quiet technologies into their supply chains.
- QUIET LOGISTICS AWARD
This Award, kindly sponsored by Freight Transport Association, recognises advances in low-noise technology, equipment and operations to facilitate safe, low-noise and efficient urban distribution services. This award is for operators, vehicle manufacturers, trailer-makers, bodybuilders and ancillary equipment suppliers who’ve created quieter products, services and programmes with reduced noise impact.
Pets at Home was receiving complaints from residents as a result of noise emitted from diesel powered forklift trucks during deliveries to its 1,400 UK stores in the evening and at night. To continue its efficient out of hours delivery movements, a solution had to be found which came in the form of HIAB’s first all-electric truck-mounted fork lift with a lift capacity of 2,000Kgs and – importantly – completely silent. The resulting no-noise forklift operation pleases not just residents but also colleagues who operate the equipment. The partnership of HIAB and Pets at Home is commended for its investment in low noise technology to reduce environmental noise and improve customer service.
Whitbread is one of the UK’s oldest and most successful businesses. They are committed to being a force for good in every community in which they operate. Thus, they have embraced a high standard of quiet delivery and servicing operations as part of responsible retiming. This includes investing in quiet equipment, staff training and route optimisation.
- SILENT APPROACH AWARD
This Award, kindly sponsored by Brigade Electronics, recognises significant advances in industry awareness and best practice to reduce noise from operations and logistics. This award is for organisations who have developed proven noise-reduction programmes, whether through the adoption of quieter transport modes, low-noise ancillary-equipment, staff training or other pro-active noise-awareness initiatives.
Not content to leave an environmental legacy simply based on the astounding physical structures they leave behind, TIDEWAY is creating a heritage of new, innovative practices to benefit future large scale construction projects. These exemplary holistic working practices encompass awareness of noise impacts and extensive community engagement.
Far beyond its statutory obligations, TIDEWAY is committed to generating state of the art environmental management, including mitigation of noise and vibration, as well as transformational safety and well-being principles for all its work colleagues. There is an extensive engagement programme with the local communities, schools and colleges around its construction sites involving everybody in the vast and vital project of building the new sewer network along the River Thames.
- QUIET MARKTM AWARD OF DISTINCTION
Quiet Mark is the international mark of approval for excellence in quiet technology and solutions initiated by the Noise Abatement Society. The Quiet Mark Award of Distinction, kindly sponsored by Anderson Acoustics, is given to a company which has shown outstanding innovation and values that align with Quiet Mark objectives.
Research has shown that noise created by hard flooring in commercial environments with high occupancy rates, has a significant negative impact on productivity and morale. Interface’s awareness of acoustics as a significant environmental factor, has led to their total commitment to incorporate an acoustic solution as standard. This environmentally-aware flooring manufacturer decided to integrate an acoustic backing into the design of its new Level Set vinyl tiles, to reduce impact noise. Laboratory tests showed a significantly better performance compared with equivalent products on the market.
Winner: SALAMANDER PUMPS
Salamander Pumps have demonstrated a long-term and continuing commitment to prioritise acoustics in their product design. Pumps are traditionally noisy and by recognising the stressful impact that a noisy water pump can have on a household, Salamander Pumps set out to introduce one of the quietest mains water pumps on the market. They then applied the same design principles to almost every range that they manufacture. As a result, this year, three new ranges have received Quiet Mark status offering consumers a genuinely quiet alternative for boosting shower and tap water pressure, reducing noise levels in homes across the UK.