New blow for Lantau school in noise row
Lantau International School has been told again to quieten down.
Its supervisor lost a legal challenge yesterday against a noise abatement notice issued after a neighbour complained.
The lawyer representing the school, Haldanes partner Christopher Morley, said the school supervisor Serge Berthier respected the judgment but noted it was difficult to enforce the notice. 'Asking a child not to make noise in a playground is like asking them not to blink or a rabbit not to eat lettuce,' Morley said.
The school in Pui O was first sent a notice in 2009 when the Noise Control Authority found it had emitted more noise than permitted in the area.
Berthier appealed unsuccessfully to the Noise Control Appeal Board. After some modifications to the notice, another one was sent last year. Berthier lost an appeal against that, too. He then filed an application for a High Court review, challenging the board's decision to dismiss his appeal last year. Berthier argued that the notice would restrict children's activities, and therefore violate their rights. He also argued that the noise authority had improperly designated the area rural, when it could at best be described as semi-rural.
But the High Court did not agree. Mr Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung said Berthier's argument about children's rights was premised on the idea that the notice restricted their activities. This 'would only make sense if the only practical method to comply with the 2010 [notice] is to restrict the children's activities as suggested. However, the 2010 [notice] does not have any such effect', he said. It simply required the school take measures to stop the noise.
Noise cannot exceed this many decibels in rural areas
- The limit for other areas is 65 decibels