A kindred spirit

In yesterday’s Straits Times, a letter from a kindred spirit who wrote to Straits Times, we should join forces

Jan 10, 2009

Noise limits do not help

I REFER to Thursday’s reply by Mr Tan Quee Hong, director, Pollution Control Department, National Environment Agency (NEA), to Mrs Nancy Tsang’s letter, ‘Noisy every day’ (Dec 27).

According to the agency, the maximum permissible noise limits are more stringent at night, between 10pm and 7am, compared to the limits during the day. But the period between 10pm and 7am is when most residents are trying to sleep.

Should work even be allowed close to residential areas at night?

Are Sundays and public holidays not when people want or need to sleep in?

Singapore is compact in terms of housing, be it HDB or private estates, and construction in and around them is unavoidable.
I am currently sandwiched between two construction sites in a supposedly quiet location. Sleep in on a Sunday or public holiday? It is impossible to enjoy a meaningful rest. This is what is happening on Sunday at 9am: the noise of reinforcement bars thrown onto a metal platform at one-minute intervals, constant movement of tracked cranes or excavators, and hammering of plywood forms.

‘Permissible noise limits’ are permissible because NEA officers carry out checks with instruments.

Instruments do not need to sleep. People do.

What are ‘permissible noise limits’? It depends on whether you are trying to sleep, you have been woken from your sleep or you are hard of hearing.

The agency also replied that it has further tightened the permissible noise limits on Sundays and public holidays for construction sites located close to residential premises.

I am so close to the two construction sites, I can shake salt over my shoulder onto the sites for good luck.

I telephoned the agency to ask about the construction sites near my home.

The reply: ‘No construction work near residential homes at night and Sundays and public holidays.’

It is not unreasonable to stop construction work at night, on Sundays and public holidays.

Ronnie Koh

Older projects unaffected

‘Those that began earlier are still subject to the old noise regulations, which allow higher noise levels.’

MR CLARENCE YING: ‘I refer to Thursday’s letter by Mr Tan Quee Hong of the National Environment Agency (NEA), ‘Stricter noise limits on Sundays and public holidays’. Readers may wish to note that the new rule which tightened noise limits applies only to developments that began construction works from October 2007. Earlier projects need only observe the old noise regulations, which allow higher noise levels at night and on Sundays and public holidays. For more information on control of noise at construction sites, visit the NEA website, app2.nea.gov.sg/index.aspx .’