Noise abatement law update needed

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 February, 2013, 2:45am

As David Richards points out, there is legislation in place prohibiting the use of car horns ("Is anyone fined for misuse of car horn?" January 31).

Many times I have asked the police why this regulation is not enforced. The response is that it is almost impossible to capture evidence, so offenders can easily mount objections to the charge.

However, with recent advances in technology, this obstacle can be overcome by providing officers with a small recording device that counters this defence.

In view of difficulties in implementing the legislation and the unacceptable torture drivers are inflicting on the community, the obvious solution is to ban horns altogether.

In my district, thousands of tourists and locals are blasted out of their beds in the middle of the night by selfish drivers who have been tolerated for far too long.

In 2006, there was talk of introducing a nighttime traffic-noise standard.

An incremental ban, starting with an immediate 11pm-to-7am prohibition, is the way to go.

Meanwhile, other unnecessary noises on our streets could have been eliminated years ago under the Noisy Products section of the Noise Control Ordinance (Cap. 400) that prohibits the manufacture, import, sale or hire of products that do not comply with noise standards.

This law was passed in 1988 and we are now in 2013, but to date the Environmental Protection Department has managed to stipulate only hand-held percussive breakers and air compressors under the legislation, back in 1991.

When I tried to bring a case - against heart-attack-inducing mega decibel bleeps from spontaneously activating car alarms in the middle of the night - under the Intruder Alarm System Noise Control Ordinance (Cap. 400); (13b) that requires vehicle alarms not to sound unless the vehicle is physically tampered with - I was advised that no action could be taken because the offending alarm system was not listed under the ordinance.

The department had not updated its website, noise control section, since 2002.

This incompetence, which would never be tolerated in the private sector, has now been attended to, but the wording replaced only with some general platitudes.

The department can redeem its reputation by fast-tracking some long overdue additions to the prohibited products listing that will give residents back their civil right to quiet enjoyment of their own homes.

Mary Melville, Tsim Sha Tsui