The Executive Council (ExCo) has finished discussing the government’s bill on the prevention and control of noise, in which traditional percussion pile drivers will be banned on construction sites. The bill also regulates the noise produced in residential buildings, such as disturbances at night.
ExCo spokesman Leong Heng Teng and Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA) Director Cheong Sio Kei addressed a press conference about the bill Thursday at Government House. ExCo is the government’s top advisory body.
According to The Macau Post Daily, the bill states that existing percussion pile driving machines, which are extremely noisy when compared with vibratory pile hammers, could only be used for one more year after the bill takes effect.
According to Leong, the bill also states that no pile driver must produce noise levels higher than 85 decibels (dB) for more than 20 minutes.
In order to ensure that others are able to have a quiet enough space to sleep, the bill states that excessive noise from entertainment activities and barking dogs must stop between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.
Cheong said that it would not be feasible to specify a figure of decibels which must not be exceeded or whether a sound can be regarded as noise in a residential building. He said that usually a disturbing noise occurs when the volume fluctuates over a period of time.
He also said that whether a particular sound is a disturbing one would depend on the judgement of his bureau’s staff or Public Security Police officers at the scene after complaints have been received from residents, adding the main issue is whether a sound is a disturbing one.
Cheong also said that in Hong Kong and the mainland, a dB figure is not used either to assess if someone is causing a disturbance in a residential building.
Leong pointed out that in the current law, which was enacted in 1994, the use of pile drivers is banned between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. on weekdays and Saturdays, or all day on Sundays and public holidays.
He said that anyone who uses a pile driver during this period is fined 10,000 to 50,000 patacas under the current law. Leong said the fines would rise to 100,000 to 200,000 patacas in the new bill.
People who cause a disturbance in a residential building will be fined 600 patacas in the new bill, he said. The current law does not include such a fine.
The bill must be passed by the legislature to become law.(macaunews)