Artful Dodgers

This is part 3 of the post “How I met my neighbours or why I invited the Minister to my house” in which I published the letter my neighbours and I wrote to the Minister of Environment and the National Environmental Agency about construction noise pollution in our high density neighbourhood in Singapore. We appealed to have a quiet day, one day of the week.

Part 2 details your rights as a Singaporean to have a quiet environment with links to the appropriate legislation. It lets you know that you don’t have much rights because construction can take place 365/yr, 24/7 even in high density residential areas even on Sundays or public holidays, the laws explicity permit that

In this post, I am publishing the letter that NEA in reply to our letter

In the letter NEA proposed setting up a meeting between ourselves and the contractor, ignoring the point we made that we already met the contractor after NEA said they could not do much since the legislation permits the noise. As to their point about having already lowered NEA limits, they also ignore the fact that our homes are only 10-20m away from the construction site. Even a single drill or hammer strike, well within the noise limits, is very loud on a Sunday if your bedroom is by the site. It takes special skill to write such a letter blithely ignoring your points, and reinstating their own.

All we ask for is a Sunday of quiet, free of construction noise in high density neighbourhoods.


27 Jun 2008

Dear Ms Tan,


We refer to your feedback on construction noise at 77 Mergui Road.

2 We had informed you previously that the National Environment Agency (NEA) controls construction noise using a set of maximum permissible noise limits stipulated under the Environmental Protection and Management (Control of Noise at Construction sites) Regulations. Construction companies are required to take noise abatement measures and manage their works to comply with the noise limits.

3 The permissible noise limits for construction sites near to residential premises at night, and on Sunday and public holidays had been tightened since 1 Oct 07. The revised noise limits for such worksites are now the same as the noise limits for worksites that are near to noise sensitive premises such as hospitals and schools.

4 The construction company undertaking the project at the said worksite has set up a noise monitoring instrument to continuously measure the noise levels from the construction works. We have checked the noise monitoring results and found that the noise levels were within the permissible limits, including the more stringent limits for Sundays and public holidays. Notwithstanding this, we have advised the contractor to rescheduled noisy works in order to minimise noise on Sundays and public holidays.

5 We will monitor closely the worksite and we will not hesitate to take enforcement action against the construction company should he carry out noisy work that exceeds the permissible noise limits.

6 If you are agreeable, we will arrange a date convenient to you and the affected residents to meet up with the management of the construction company. The meeting will give you an opportunity to give your feedback to the management of the company and for the company to explain the measures it had taken to reduce noise emission from its construction site.

7 If you need further clarification or would like to provide further feedback to us, please contact me at DID: 67319137 or Mr Khairul Sani Samsudin at DID: 67319664 or call NEA hotline at 1800-CALL NEA (1800-2255 632). Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Rahmad bin Sidek
For Director
Pollution Control Department
The National Environment Agency