EDDC wins noise reduction award

A PROACTIVE approach to anticipate and prevent new noise problems arising from the banning of smoking in public buildings has won EDDC s Environmental Health Service an award.

A PROACTIVE approach to anticipate and prevent new noise problems arising from the banning of smoking in public buildings has won EDDC's Environmental Health Service an award.

The Noise Abatement Society awarded the John Connell Enterprise Award to East Devon District Council's department, in recognition of its "outstanding contribution to noise reduction".

Council chairman Councillor Paul Diviani accepted it on behalf of the service and said: "This is further proof, if proof were needed, that EDDC is doing a good job for the people of East Devon."

After the introduction last July of smoke-free public buildings and workplaces, Environmental Health officers based at Knowle, Sidmouth, were concerned smokers and their friends would take noise outside late at night.

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To tackle potential problems before they occurred, they drew up a strategy with licensing officers to educate, rather than enforce, carrying out a series of briefings and presentations for the district's Licensed Victuallers Associations and for council members.

They highlighted legitimate fears of many residents about the prospect of outside smoking and drinking, in many cases until 3am.

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Mr Diviani said: "Most of the winners we met in London were representing large metropolitan councils. It was really good to be in the capital flying the flag for rural East Devon.

"I know Environmental Health is not perceived to be the most glamorous service to work in and can often be overlooked in the celebrity stakes."

He said with two-thirds of East Devon classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, tranquillity played an important part.

"Our EH team is proving very effective in supporting residents to maintain that tranquillity," he said.

Judges were impressed by EDDC's continuing improvements to its noise service, its efforts of working with other organisations to protect the public and the difficult decisions EHOs have to make.

They noted: "This all adds an extra burden to your busy schedule, but it has allowed the public to see a first-class dedicated noise team in action, and it will promote awareness of the growing problem of noise and show that local authorities do care and at the same time show fairness and understanding.

"Our team of acoustic engineers, together with our committee and trustees, felt this will send a clear warning that noise will not be tolerated."

Photo caption:

Pictured receiving East Devon's award are (left to right): Andrew Ennis, environmental health manager; Jill Wheller, environmental health officer; Councillor Paul Diviani and Simon Smale, head of Environmental Health.

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