The John Connell Awards 2018 took place at the Palace of Westminster on the evening of 24th October 2018, kindly hosted by Colonel Bob Stewart DSO MP, Member of Parliament for Beckenham and the awards presented by Sonia Phippard CBE, Defra’s Director General of Environment, Rural and Marine.
The awards are named after NAS’s 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 unique annual awards, known as the ‘Noise Oscars’, are now in their 17th 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 250 recipients from local authorities, industry, organisations and individuals have now been honoured for the significant impact they have made to improve the aural environment.
The eleven recipients of the John Connell Awards 2018 are as follows:
LOCAL AUTHORITY AWARD
This award, kindly sponsored by ROCKWOOL UK, recognises that controlling excessive and unwanted noise in the community is one of the many tough responsibilities of Environmental Health Practitioners. 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 London Borough of Ealing Council and National Grid redeveloped and co-created noise abatement and management solutions for Almond Avenue Substation. This substation is critical, both locally and nationally, supplying electricity to over 200,000 homes. However, loud intrusive humming noise was causing widespread disturbance to residents and threatened the plant’s ongoing viability. Taking the strategic decision to avoid enforcement action and prolonged court proceedings, this local council worked collaboratively with operators and residents to achieve a sustainable solution: a co-designed visually appealing noise barrier erected around the 15,000 square meters site, successfully mitigating the noise whilst working in an extremely challenging high voltage environment.
Westminster City Council is the busiest planning authority in the country. ‘Noise from building and construction was cited by 36% of its residents as having bothered them, with 19% considering it the most annoying noise they experienced – compared to 3% nationally’. Their advanced Code of Construction Practice takes a risk-based approach to managing development, to include making contractors more accountable to the local community and collaborative works programme to improve residents’ amenity. This significantly reduces noise complaints and maximises council resources.
This award recognises the advancement of Soundscape principles in line with the international standard BS ISO 12913-1:2014 and the practical ‘real-world’ application of the standard. As a member of the ISO Soundscape standard committee, since 2009, the NAS is helping to develop, research and evidence new acoustic measurement and assessment methods which more accurately reflect what the listener hears. Soundscape opens up the possibilities of managing sound in a more positive way to benefit our communities, health and wellbeing.
The Welsh Government is the first national government to explicitly embed the requirement of good acoustic design and soundscape management at the heart of all development and noise policy with their world-leading integrated Planning Policy Edition 10 and Noise and Soundscape Strategy 2018-2023. The aim is to: create appropriate and varied soundscapes, meaning ‘the right acoustic environment at the right time and place’; ensure truly sustainable development through aligning soundscape and air quality aims; drive innovation; and safeguard future generations through the development of quieter technologies and promoting standards developed in the UK.
Those with dementia may also suffer from a range of behavioural and psychological disorders greatly impacting on their quality of life and the work of health professionals. A multi-disciplinary team of experts at Ghent University led co-creation sessions with staff, selected residents and family members to research and manage residents’ exposure to the acoustic environments in their bedrooms and living rooms. The resulting solution, “AcustiCare – the use of soundscapes in elderly care”, included noise control measures to reduce reverberation times and unwanted sound propagation, also, co-designed soundscapes to promote calm, enhance feelings of safety, and improve the perceived pleasantness of the indoor environment.
Innovation is the key to successfully solving noise pollution for the benefit of all. This award, kindly sponsored by the Institute of Acoustics, recognises original thinking when faced with particularly challenging acoustic issues, whether through noise control or reduction programmes, management, technology or good acoustic design.
AECOM developed and used pioneering immersive sound demonstrations for the first time in a UK major road scheme statutory public consultation. Planned upgrades to the A303 – Amesbury to Berwick Down Scheme – include junction improvements and a tunnel under Stonehenge that will reduce traffic congestion, noise and the visual impact of traffic from the World Heritage Site. Working together with Highways England this consultancy produced a pioneering and innovative solution. Setting a new engagement benchmark for highways infrastructure bodies, immersive sound demonstrations were used for the first time in a UK major road scheme statutory public consultation, making noise and visual impact intuitive to understand, accessible to a wider demographic while helping to allay fears, and communicate the facts about the scheme to stakeholders.
Temple Group and FLO (Ferrovial Agroman and Laing O’Rourke) used complex Auralisation Animations and Community Engagement to maximise public resources and minimise disruption for residents during the Northern Line Extension. The Northern Line Extension in central London has required major construction sites close to residential properties, with works taking place during the evening, night and weekends. Through proactive engagement with Community Liaison Group meetings, drop in sessions and investment in complex Auralisation Animations, buy-in from stakeholders was able to be achieved for the use of Acoustic Sheds to mitigate some of the noisiest works. This meant costlier options to the public purse could be avoided and greater disruption to residents minimised by avoiding fitting extra insulation, secondary glazing, or temporary re-housing.
QUIET LOGISTICS AWARD
This award, kindly sponsored by the Freight Transport Association, recognises advances in low-noise technology, equipment and operations to facilitate safe, low(er) noise and efficient urban distribution services. Past awards have been won by operators, vehicle manufacturers, trailer-makers, bodybuilders and ancillary equipment suppliers who’ve created quieter products, services and programmes to reduce environmental noise impacts.
Noisy vehicle refrigeration units are disturbing to residents, thus limiting operators’ delivery profiles and increasing congestion. Thermo King and Frigoblock have introduced an innovative suite of quiet, hybrid, low-emission, multi-platform, full-scale transport refrigeration solutions. These include: unique Geo Fencing and noise abatement features enabling customers to remotely programme their refrigeration units to automatically transition to quieter operation once the vehicle enters a pre-defined geographic area while protecting the cold chain; and provided new quiet hybrid solutions allowing easier access to restricted, low-emission urban areas while lowering their environmental footprint and operating costs in the same time.
Last-mile delivery accounts for a growing proportion of transportation journeys in urban centres as a result of the boom in online shopping. However, predominantly van-based last-mile deliveries are a major contributor to air and noise pollution and consequently have a negative impact on the environment, health and wellbeing of local communities. This innovative silent, zero-emission last mile delivery solution developed by e-cargobikes.com gives retailers confidence to move from current ‘proven but dirty’ van delivery platforms to a scalable, robust, multi-hub, clean alternative.
SILENT APPROACH AWARD
Winner: HIGHWAYS ENGLAND
This award, kindly sponsored by Brigade Electronics UK, recognises significant advances in industry awareness and best practice to reduce noise from operations and logistics. This award is for organisations which 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.
Highways England is responsible for motorways and major (trunk) roads in England, forming the Strategic Road Network, totalling around 4,300 miles. While this represents only 2% of all roads in England by length, these roads carry a third of all traffic by mileage and two thirds of all heavy goods traffic. Since 2015 the comprehensive and complex noise mitigation programme has mitigated over 800 Noise Important Areas (as defined by Defra) and benefitted over 40,000 people including through the following measures: major schemes including re-routing traffic flows away from population; low noise road surfacing; innovative noise barriers; bespoke insulation packages; and novel community engagement methods.
QUIET MARK™ CAMPAIGN AWARD
Winner: VAILLANT GROUP
Quiet Mark is the international mark of approval for excellence in quiet technology and solutions initiated by the Noise Abatement Society. The Quiet Mark Campaign Award, kindly sponsored by Salamander Pumps, is given to a company which has shown outstanding use of its Quiet Mark to increase market awareness.
The Vaillant Group has chosen to incorporate the Quiet Mark within its multi-million spend, UK wide, consumer facing TV advert showing this Autumn and into Spring next year. This not only demonstrates this company’s priority for low-noise, high performance technology, but also its skill in communicating a calm counter-cultural creative to many millions of TV viewers conveying the powerful message that a warm, quiet comfort zone is good for health and well-being in the home.
QUIET MARK™ COMMERCIAL SECTOR AWARD
Winner: JOHN LEWIS PARTNERSHIP
The Quiet Mark Commercial Sector Award, kindly sponsored by Anderson Acoustics, is given to a company which has shown outstanding commitment to customer care and values that align with Quiet Mark objectives.
The John Lewis Partnership has responded positively to the sustainable delivery challenge by creating a high benchmark for very clean, very quiet trucks. It has purchased 61 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) trucks – fuelled by sustainable, clean and quiet bio-methane and featuring game-changing technology developed with Scania. Six of these have ground-breaking inverter technology developed by Frigoblock, which enable the use of engine-free refrigerated trailers.
In addition to adapting its fleet, it has implemented best practice guidance for quiet logistics from Transport for London and the Noise Abatement Society – for example, installing quiet floors and noise absorbing equipment at sites, ensuring that radios are turned off and that staff show considerate behaviour. It has shown great commitment to reducing the noise impact of its delivery operations, part of its customer care programme and in perfect alignment with its Quiet Mark Award – a great example for other retailers and distributors to follow.