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Army’s gun salute banned for being too noisy

March 5th, 2006

Your 21-gun salutes are just too loud, Brussels tells the Royal Artillery (Mail on Sunday 5 March 2006)
The Royal Artillery is being forced to test ‘quieter’ cannon rounds in case its 21-gun salutes breach EU noise regulations. […] They have been warned that they might risk breaching the European Union’s ‘Physical Agents Directive’, which has reduced the maximum legal limit.

The background to this story is an EU directive from 1986 that aims to protect workers from exposure to harmful levels of noise they have to bear with in their jobs. The directive was later revised and the new ruling became law in all EU member states on 15 February. The Mail on Sunday seems to refer to this revision. However, the limit level for sudden noise, i.e. something like cannons, is not changed in the new rules (it was slightly reduced for continuous noise). The limit level for the 21- gun salutes has been the same for 20 years, since 1986.

The Commission believes that employees are entitled to sufficient protection from dangerously high noise levels. As long as this is the case with the 21- gun salutes there is absolutely no problem. The salutes can go on as usual.

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Please note that all statements in all entries were correct on the date of publication given. However, older archived posts are not systematically updated in the light of later developments, for example changes to EU law.

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