Council Insists Noise Levels are Adequately Monitored

Residents convinced decibel limits exceeded during recent concerts

Revenue from large scale concerts such as Gunnersbury Live brings in important revenue

Hounslow Council is insisting that the arrangements for monitoring noise from events in the borough is adequate despite claims from residents that noise levels have been breached.

At a recent concert in Gunnersbury Park by Australian RÜFÜS DU SOL, people living in the vicinity reported that the windows of their homes were vibrating and the event was heard as far away as Hammersmith.

Maximum noise levels for pop concerts are set as part the licensing conditions and the council bases its policy on the Code of Practice on Environmental Noise Control at Concerts (1995) which stipulates that the noise level should not exceed 75dB(A) over a 15 minute period.

The council has admitted that Environmental Health Officers were not on site on Saturday 20 August when the concert about which there were the most complaints took place. Monitoring is carried out with calibrated equipment provided by the event organiser which runs continuously at agreed sites near to the park. The equipment records and analyses the noise levels and provides a record which the council says cannot be altered before it is sent to the council to check for compliance.

Council officers are currently investigating this data to see if there have been any breaches during the RÜFÜS DU SOL concert. Environmental Health Officers are dealing with a number of complaints from the events at the series of Gunnersbury Live events and are liaising with the organisers and their acoustic consultants.

The council says it is keeping the arrangements for noise monitoring under review including having officers on site for events such as the forthcoming Pub in the Park in Chiswick House Gardens.

Joanna Biddolph, Conservative Councillor for Chiswick Gunnersbury, said, "My understanding is that the event organiser, Festival Republic, is obliged to report to the community interest company (CIC) that runs the park on noise complaints and their geographical location as well as on noise levels and therefore compliance with the licence. I have asked for a feedback meeting at which I expect all these points will be reported to residents, as has happened before.

"I’ve heard from residents in areas that ought not to have been affected but were and in quite dramatic ways such as windows vibrating. Clearly, the management of the direction of sound and its volume was woefully inadequate.

"I know that some residents feel that people who live near the park should, in effect, get a life and either go away or join in. First, it isn’t only people who live near the park who were significantly disturbed. Second, it would mean residents cannot expect to enjoy their own gardens during the summer plus some work shifts, others work from home at weekends, and everyone is entitled not to be forced out of their homes.

"One point I must emphasise, however, is that almost everyone has said they understand that the CIC needs to raise money to run the park. This isn’t about not having events or not making any noise. It is about managing events so they work for everyone.”

A petition has been started by local resident Anant Malik calling for all concerts at Gunnersbury Park to be banned. He says he will also be printing 2,000 leaflets as part of the campaign adding, “Recently though with the reopening of the park and the launch of crazy chaotic ridiculously loud concerts and parties in the park and endless festivals of sorts, weekend after weekend the communities and peaceful users of the park who have enjoyed the park for years, have literally lost their park to an absolute hell of noise pollution, public littering, of excessive crowds all around the streets throughout the weekend, chaos of crowds of hundreds of taxis and cars trying to get home, often blocking the traffic, double parked everywhere.”

At the time of writing 51 people had signed the petition.

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