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EUROPEAN NOISE RULING FALLS ON DEAF EARS

March 13th, 2002

PROPOSAL STRUGGLES TO MAKE ITSELF HEARD ABOVE THE NOISE OF PRESS SCAREMONGERING

Barmy EU plans pub noise ban
Potty EU bureaucrats want to ban music and loud chatter from pubs and clubs – by bringing in a strict noise ban.
(The Sun, 11 January 2002, page 7)

EU’re not singing..
Pubs showing England’s World Cup games this summer could forced to keep the noise down under crazy new European rules.  A killjoy EU directive has set a maximum of 87 decibels.  It is meant to protect workers but pub bosses are worried it will ruin the atmosphere in their boozers.
(Sunday People, 20 January 2002, page 12)

Beethoven’s 9th off limits in EU noise plan
Musicians are fighting to be exempted from a European Union directive to reduce workplace noise levels which will require hundreds of pieces of classical music to be played more quietly or not at all.
(
The Times, 12 February 2002, page 9)

Brussels clobbers clubbers
Barmy Eurocrats are bringing in new laws which mean night-clubbers will have to wear earplugs – to protect them against dance music!  Bouncers and bar staff will have to be ready to hand out protectors and tell punters to put them in if DJs spin noisy tracks.
(
News of the World, 3 March 2002, page 41)

Speak up ref, I’ve got ear plugs on me head
– Euro MP in barmy bid to protect footballers from crowd noise
Football players could soon be ordered to wear ear plugs to protect them from the roar of the crowd.  …  The idea raises the prospect of David Beckham … playing marathon matches due to not hearing the final whistle.  And cries like “On me head son” will go unheard.  …  Noise at big football games can top 110 [decibels].
(Daily Express, 13 March 2002, page 20)

This is another example of the press trivialising an important area of EU legislation – this time relating to health and safety.  The proposals in question are designed to reduce exposure to noise at work in places such as factories and airports where employees already have to wear ear protection.  Deafness is the most common occupational disease in the EU.

The Common Position agreed by the Commission and the Council sets certain limits on the amount of noise that workers would have to put up with in their place of work (basically 87 decibels for 8 hours).  In bottling plants, for example, the noise level can easily reach and stay at over 100 decibels.  The directive is yet to receive final approval.

These rules will only apply to workers, not people enjoying themselves in pubs, clubs or at football matches.  It is purely for those who have no choice but to work in noisy conditions.  Staff have to be given the option of ear protection by their employers and it is proposed that the employer shall be responsible for enforcing the wearing of hearing protectors and checking their effectiveness.

The European Parliament has proposed that the directive should only apply to the music and entertainment industry five years after it comes into force.  However, the Commission should analyse the implications of the legislation for these sectors within two years of the entry into force of the directive.  On the basis of this report, the Commission will be requested to present a proposal, the aim of which may be either to exclude the music and entertainment activities from the scope of this directive or to regulate those activities by different means.

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