Question to the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Mr. Phil Hogan, TD)
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his views on the benefits of designating parts of cities as quiet areas; if he will provide details of any quiet areas that he has already designated; if he will consider designating areas of Cork city as quiet areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer.
For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 6th November, 2013.
The Environmental Noise Directive (END) 2002/49/EC sets out certain requirements for the assessment and management of environmental noise, in particular from road and rail infrastructure as well as major airports. The END aims to define a common approach intended to avoid, prevent or reduce on a prioritised basis the harmful effects, including annoyance, due to exposure to environmental noise.
The END was transposed into national law by the Environmental Noise Regulations 2006, which set out a two-stage process for addressing environmental noise. Firstly, noise must be assessed through the preparation of strategic noise maps for areas and infrastructure falling within defined criteria. Secondly, based on the results of the mapping process, the Regulations require the preparation of noise action plans for each area concerned. The fundamental objective of noise action plans is the prevention and reduction of environmental noise. Responsibility for noise action planning is assigned to local authorities.
The latest round of noise mapping was undertaken during 2012. Local authorities subsequently prepared related noise action plans for the period July 2013 to November 2018. These plans were made available for public consultation before being finalised.
The measures proposed by noise action plans may include the designation of ‘quiet areas’. The Regulations require that a local authority undertakes consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before submitting a proposal for quiet area designation to me for approval. Proposed quiet area s should have existing low levels of exposure to environmental noise with natur ally occurring sounds be ing the dominant sound source. The purpose of a quiet area designation is to preserve a location as a public amenity space by protecting it from increased exposure to environmental noise. The designation c ould affec t future development in the vicinity of a quiet area if it has the potential adversly to impact on existing low noise levels.
As part of the noise action plan for the Dublin agglomeration, Dublin City Council proposed 8 locations around the city as being suitable for quiet area designation under the Regulations. These are as follows:
– Blessington Basin, Blessington Street, Dublin 1;
– Edenmore Park, Raheny, Dublin 5;
– Mount Bernard Park, Shandon Park, Phibsborough, Dublin 7;
– Dollymount SAA, Clontarf, Dublin 3 (terrestrial area only, excluding sloblands);
– St. Anne’s Park Raheny, Dublin 5;
– Palmerston Park, Dartry, Dublin 6;
– Ranelagh Gardens, Ranelagh, Dublin 6; and
– The Cabbage Gardens, Cathedral Lane, Dublin 2
Following consideration of the Dublin City Council proposal, I announced on 7 August 2013 that I had approved these locations as being suitable for quiet area designation.
To date no other local authorities have submitted proposals for quiet areas. If considered appropriate as part of its own noise action planning and management, Cork City Council may identify suitable locations for quiet area designation within Cork City and, following consultation with the EPA, submit a proposal to me for consideration.