Noise standards for electronically amplified music in Flanders (Belgium)

Regular paper

Gilke Pée

Vlaamse Overheid, Flemish Government

Monday 1 june, 2015, 17:40 - 18:00

0.8 Rome (118)

In 2009, an increase in reports of hearing loss in young people initiated a process which led to the introduction of noise standards for activities with electronically amplified music in Flanders. A participatory approach was chosen, involving as many target groups as possible. The challenge was to develop regulation which bans excesses but still allows artists and audience to have a complete musical experience. The result is a three-step system which is applicable to all types of activities with electronically amplified music such as festivals, parties, but also dance schools or music in pubs, stores, ... In addition to a maximum noise level a number of accompanying measures are introduced. Increasing noise levels imply stricter measures. This approach allows us to differentiate: not all activities with electronically amplified music demand an equally high sound level. This set of noise standards complements the existing regulation limiting nuisance to the neighbourhood. The introduction of the new regulation was accompanied by an extensive information campaign towards organizers, musicians and enforcers. An additional focus was sensitization; a campaign had to raise public awareness of the risk on and the impact of hearing loss. The regulation has been in force for two years now. It is time for the next step in the process; evaluation. The following paper discusses the making and introduction of the regulation, analyzes the noise standards themselves and the considerations that were discussed in the course of the process.

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