Noise is everywhere. Whether you live in an Urban or rural setting you can’t help but notice it. It may be the thunder of lorries or the rumble of agricultural machinery. In 1959 the problem was becoming intolerable for many people, but it was John Connell who decided he’d had enough and set about forming the Noise abatement society. The aim was to give those people who were living in areas blighted by noise a voice as councils appeared not to be interested at all.
Members of the public were angry. They were angry over noise. Connell himself called it the great pollutant and he was right. It is almost a human need for there to be silence and stillness at times but tell that to the residents around Heathrow airport. Connells stance drew many supporters. He was convinced of the righteousness of his task to get something got on the statute book and help the thousands of people that were writing to him to complain.
After just over a year Connell had convinced MPs that this was a problem and needed to be looked at. True enough a Noise Abatement Act 1960 was passed, and noise was now seen as a nuisance and powers were granted to stop it. He wasn’t concerned with Music for Business that was utilised in stores or other places of business but rather the everyday sounds that had become unbearable across the country. Connell was not just a campaigner. He took a practical approach to what he could do to reduce noise and came up with some novel ideas for example plastic bin lids and he constantly lobbied firms to find ways of reducing their noise levels. His greatest test was to get the Government to move Heathrow or at least disallow night flights. He didn’t win on Heathrow, which is being expanded but he did manage to get the night flights stopped. He did it by waking up the Minister for Aviation at two in the morning. This got results, night time flying was soon adjusted to end at a reasonable time.
The society is still going and is willing to help out any one that wants some type of support. They are currently working on the following projects.
Love you Ears now – scheme to make youngsters aware not to listen to music or Podcasts on the iPod or MP3 player too loud as it will damage your hearing in later life. Over 1 hour a day at high volume can do permanent harm for 5 years.
Wind turbines – while they may be a clean fuel source they are not clean in the noise stakes. The low dull whooshing sound goes through you and can disturb sleep.
Emergency Vehicle Sirens – not getting rid of them but certainly look at ways to make the tine less invasive and make us all panic stricken.