Yes, it’s me – The Noise Doctor. I’m back with the NoiseNews Round-Up. I’ll be bringing you some of the latest and quirkiest noise-related news stories from around the world. In this edition, I’m looking at plans for a new Legoland, drum & bass music being replaced by a silent disco, councils warring over noise and how noise pollution is a possible factor in the onset of dementia. Let’s get started.
Lego Plans Stonewalled by Local Residents
City centre residents are objecting to plans for a new Legoland in Birmingham claiming their lives could be blighted by the sound of happy children at the proposed venue.
The council’s planning department received to joint objection to plans for a new Legoland Discovery Centre at the Barclaycard Arena in the city centre from an apartment complex across the canal to the proposed site.
Lego attraction owner Merlin estimates that at the busiest times of year up to 2,500 children will attend for an average two hour visit between 10am and 6pm. Planning officers have dismissed the complaints pointing out that up to 15,800 people can file in and out of the main arena, formerly the NIA, at the same time for a concert or late night show.
The Legoland Discovery Centre is expected to be approved.
Morning Call to Prayers to be Banned?
Israeli ministers have endorsed contentious draft legislation known as the “muezzin bill”, which critics say is designed to silence the Muslim call to prayer.
Information from the Israeli Justice Ministry showed that the draft bill had been voted and passed by the ministerial committee ready to go before representatives of the Knesset as a government bill.
The bill, in a revised form, would ban religious leaders from using loudspeakers or PA systems to summon worshippers for prayers between 11pm – 7am – this would limit the first of the five-times-daily Muslim calls to prayer, just before dawn.
Supporters claims it is a curb on noise nuisance whilst critics say it is an attack on the freedom of religious expression. Around 20 per cent of Israel’s population are Arabic, though not necessarily all are Muslim.
It’s All About The Bass…
A local music event has been forced to stop playing drum and bass in favour of a silent disco after residents complained about the noise levels.
Reading Borough Council officers reviewed Readipop Festival’s licence after receiving enough noise complaints for the event to be labelled a noise nuisance.
Speaking at the meeting, Mrs Lin Godfrey who lives nearby in Patrick Road said: “What started as a family orientated festival has become a big music festival. Organisers have ignored the close proximity of residents. The 2015 and 2016 events are chalk and cheese.”
Licensing officers said they had “lost confidence in management” and felt it had moved away from being a community event.
However, the group has been allowed to keep its licence if organisers follow a series of conditions, including employing a noise consultant and ensuring noise levels don’t exceed 65 dBA over a 15 minute period. By comparison the 80,000+ strong Reading Festival has a limit of 70 dBA.
Cllr Marion Livingston said the team decided to not reduce the running hours or ban the Friday of the festival as long as the new conditions are strictly adhered to.
Co-founder of Readipop, Gavin Lombos will also have his contact details passed on to local residents to communicate during the festival.
Love thy Neighbour? Councils Square up in Court Clash Over Noise
Wandsworth Council is taking legal action against neighbouring Lambeth following noise fears over its renewed backing of a music festival later this year.
South West Four (SW4) is a two day electronic music festival that has been held on Clapham Common since 2001 and officially sanctioned by Lambeth since 2004.
Last year the sound level was raised prompting an increase in complaints from local residents, but Lambeth Council has been granted festival permission on the Common again this year, with the same retained noise levels, as well as an extension of the event to three days.
Wandsworth’s application to magistrates asks that noise levels are knocked back to 2016 levels and the festival is curtailed at two days.
Wandsworth’s environment spokesman Councillor Jonathan Cook said: “I’m afraid that Lambeth have left us no alternative but to seek a resolution of this issue in the courts. We raised some reasonable points at their committee meeting which could have been easily agreed to that would have allowed the festival to go ahead without causing the major headache that residents in both boroughs experienced last year.”
He said the council was not objecting to the event – which now attracts up to 30,000 festival goers – but just how it was “being managed”.
He pointed to a six-old increase in complaints as clear indication that local residents were being affected by the new noise levels however music fans says SW4 needs the higher sound levels to address poor sound quality on the site.
Wandsworth resident Jay Addlington, said: “When we were there a few years ago, we were standing at the front of one of the stages and people’s conversations were louder than the music.”
Although half of Clapham Common is in Wandsworth, Lambeth Council manages all of it.
Noise Pollution Possible Factor in Dementia Onset
Living near a main road increases the risk of dementia, the first major research into air pollution and disease has shown, with noise pollution also cited as a possible factor.
A decade-long study of 6.6 million people, published in The Lancet, found that one in 10 dementia deaths in people living within 50 metres of a busy road was attributable to fumes and noise. There was a linear decline in deaths the further people lived away from heavy traffic.
Air pollution is already known to contribute to the deaths of around 40,000 people in Britain each year by exacerbating respiratory and heart conditions, while previous research showed emissions can cause brain shrinkage.
But the new study by Canadian public health scientists is the first to find a link between living close to heavy traffic and the onset of dementia. In the new study, the team tracked all adults aged between 20 and 85 living in Ontario for more than a decade from 2001 to 2012.
Using postcodes to determine how close people lived to a main road, researchers analysed medical records to see if they went on to develop dementia, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. Over the study period, more than 243,000 people developed dementia, 31,500 people developed Parkinson’s disease and 9,250 people developed multiple sclerosis.
Researchers believe that noise of traffic may also play a role in the raised risk as well as other urban pollution, present near busy roads.
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