Noise nuisances caused by the sound amplifying systems in schools
Date of Meeting: 14 March 2001
Asked by : Hon Albert CHAN
Replied by : SEM
In connection with noise nuisances caused to nearby residents by the sound amplifying systems in schools, will the Government inform this Council whether:
- it has stipulated the maximum permissible sound level in respect of the sound amplifying systems in schools and conducted regular tests in this respect; and
- it plans to improve these sound amplifying systems to prevent such noise nuisances from disturbing nearby residents?
| In 1997, the then Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands issued a technical memorandum under the Noise Control Ordinance (NCO) stipulating the maximum levels of noise which can be emanated from places other than domestic premises, public places or construction sites. The maximum levels allowed vary with locations and the time when the noise is generated. Noise produced by schools' public address (PA) systems is also regulated by the technical memorandum.
The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) is responsible for the installation and maintenance of government schools' PA systems. EMSD will ensure that the statutory requirements mentioned above are complied with through, for example, installing speakers at suitable locations and advising schools of the maximum volume output permitted.
At present, no regular tests are conducted on the volume output of schools' PA systems. However, if the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) receives complaints on noise generated by schools' PA systems, the Department will carry out investigations. If it is found that the statutory requirements are not complied with, EPD will issue a noise abatement notice to the school concerned requiring it to rectify. It will be an offence under the NCO if the school does not rectify accordingly.
To further minimise nuisance that schools' PA systems might cause to neighbouring residents, we provide conduits for all Year 2000 design schools connecting their classrooms with their PA systems. With the facility, if a school wishes to make an announcement to its students, it may do so through its classroom PA system. Existing aided and government schools may also apply for funding from ED to install conduits connecting their PA systems with their classrooms. In addition, a number of low-volume speakers in place of a few high-volume speakers are installed at different locations of Year 2000 design schools to reduce the overall noise level.