I REFER to the letter headlined, 'Late-night noise permit not checked properly' (South China Morning Post, December 5), in which your reader expressed concern over noise from roadworks at Percival Street.
The construction noise permit system is designed to protect the public from noise disturbance due to construction activities carried out during the restricted hours, that is, 7pm to 7am on weekdays and at any time on general holidays. Contractors have to comply with stringent noise criteria before a permit is issued for using powered mechanical equipment to carry out construction work during that period.
However, for road maintenance and resurfacing at major traffic routes and some utility work, short-term permits are issued for such work to be carried out during restricted hours even if the noise exceeds the criteria. This is to avoid causing serious public inconvenience in the daytime. Under such circumstances, the quietest practicable working methods and equipment have to be employed. Further conditions would normally be imposed to restrict the noisy road-breaking process so it is not carried out after 11pm.
Police respond promptly to complaints and check if there is a permit and whether the permit conditions are complied with.
For the roadworks at Percival Street, a permit was issued for carrying out road resurfacing during restricted hours. Operation of the pneumatic breaker and air compressor was restricted to before 10pm.
Other machinery essential to the work, such as paver and dump truck, were allowed to be used in phases as the work progressed along different sections of the road. According to our investigation, the resurfacing work lasted for three nights over the main stretch of Percival Street between Hennessy Road and Leighton Road. The work was completed on November 30. In response to the complaints, the police investigated the case and no breach of permit conditions was observed.
To enhance the control on construction noise during restricted hours, spot-checks are conducted by staff of our department. Meanwhile we will strengthen our liaison with the police to ensure action will be taken if there is a violation of the ordinance.
S.W.F. HO Principal Environmental Protection Officer Local Control Office (Territory South) for Director of Environmental Protection