White Paper for the Prevention and Control of Neighbourhood Noise
A White Paper on the Prevention, Abatement and Control of Neighbourhood Noise was published by Government last week aimed to stimulate public debate on the issue while assist the government in formulating, and eventually implementing measures to improve the present legal and institutional framework for the control of various forms of excessive noise. These include noise from transport, places of entertainment, one off events, industrial or construction activities and noise within neighbourhoods. While noise is a form of pollution, excessive noise can have a detrimental impact not only on our health and quality of life, but also on the state of the environment, including the health of biodiversity and ecosystems.
The White Paper was prepared following an assessment carried out by The Head of Department of Environmental Law at the University of Malta, Dr. Simone Borg. In her presentation Dr. Borg explained that the current legal framework related to noise control is fragmented and the responsibility for regulating various aspects of noise is shared amongst several institutions. The assessment highlights the fact that with the exception of a few cases, neighbourhood noise level thresholds are largely absent from noise-related legislation, and this makes it difficult for those who suffer from excessive noise to prove the fact of nuisance in court.
Amongst the recommendations presented in the White Paper it is proposing that new legislation for the control of neighbourhood noise and arrangements for improving enforcement are introduced. The Paper also recommends the harmonisation and the mainstreaming of noise-related issues in regulatory tools such as permitting. A 24 hour helpline for noise-related issues is also proposed. The White Paper may be downloaded from the following website: http://www.tsdu.gov.mt/noise The consultation period will close on the 15th of April 2012.