Tougher measures mooted for noise nuisance

Local authorities and police could be given greater powers to tackle noise pollution as part of a raft of proposed new measures to deal with the blight of noisy neighbours and businesses.

The Irish government has launched a consultation outlining proposed changes to existing noise legislation.

It includes proposals for local authorities to make greater use of byelaws to reduce noise from fireworks and motorbikes, and giving the national police force, An Garda Síochána, powers to force their way into properties to disable nuisance alarms and to issue on the spot fines to offenders.

Codes of practice to reduce noise in industry, construction, commerce and residential areas could also be drafted under the proposals in the consultation paper.

Other suggested improvements include creating a website giving people advice about how to act if they have complaints about noise and raising fines for those convicted through the courts.

Ministers said the current legislation puts too much burden on people affected by noise to pursue the complaint, and some penalties are not high enough to be a deterrent.

Launching the consultation paper in Dublin, Environment Minister John Gormley said: “Noise nuisance has always been an area of concern for the Green Party, and in fact my colleague Deputy Ciaran Cuffe brought forward a private members bill on this issue previously,” he said.

“This public consultation builds on Deputy Cuffe’s work and is the first step in a process through which I intend to make the procedures for dealing with noise issues more accessible and understandable for the citizen, and to ensure that noise complaints can be dealt with in a timely manner.”

It is hoped that the proposed changes will bring a more integrated approach to noise pollution problems, and make it a higher profile issue.

Ministers are calling for feedback on the suggestions for strengthening anti-noise legislation.

The consultation paper can be found here and comments can be submitted to the government until October 31.

Kate Martin

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