Dáil Éireann - Volume 638 - 02 October, 2007
Written Answers. - Noise Pollution.
Deputy Olivia Mitchell Deputy Olivia Mitchell
 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his plans to deal with the noise pollution impact of house alarms on residences in high density urban housing complexes; if it is feasible to legislate for lower sensitivity sensors to prevent triggering of the systems by strong winds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21440/07]
Deputy John Gormley Deputy John Gormley
Deputy John Gormley: There are various legislative provisions applicable to noise nuisance, as well as a number of practical arrangements to reduce the instances of unnecessary noise from alarms and to tackle persistent incidence of such noise.
Section 107 of the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 provides local authorities with powers to require measures to be taken to prevent or limit noise. In the case of a faulty alarm, a local authority may serve a notice under this section. Where the Council receives a complaint, an advisory letter is issued to the owner/occupier advising of the terms of the current standards for intruder alarms systems.
A European Standard for external intruder alarms (EN50131) has replaced all national standards, and incorporates considerably stricter controls, regarding minimum and maximum duration for the sounding of alarms. The new limits are 90 seconds minimum and 15 minutes maximum duration from the sounding of external alarms in buildings; the alarms must cease automatically after the maximum duration. This standard has been applied by the National Standards Authority of Ireland for intruder alarms installed by certified installers since 1 March 2004.
The Private Security Services Act 2004 provided for the establishment of a Private Security Authority to licence, control and supervise all alarm installers of security equipment, and for the Authority to have powers to maintain and improve standards in the provision of services, including standards for intruder alarms. I understand that with effect from 1 November 2005, installers of alarms were required to register with the Private Security Authority and with effect from 1 August 2006, installers cannot operate without a licence, the granting of which will require proof that the installer has attained the EN 50131 standard.
In addition, I understand that the connection of monitored business intruder alarm systems to Garda Siochána stations is contingent upon, inter alia, the use of alarm systems which are certified by the NSAI and installed by certified installers. The current European Standard along with improved equipment and the co-operation of the installers certified by the NSAI, should together ensure that the incidence of false alarms and the failure of audible alarms to cut off will be signifi cantly reduced. Under the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 (Noise) Regulations 1994, a local authority or any person may seek an order in the district court to have noise giving reasonable cause for annoyance abated. The procedures involved have been simplified to allow action to be taken without legal representation. A public information leaflet outlining the legal avenues available to persons experiencing noise nuisance is available from my Department or on www.environ.ie. I am also currently examining options to strengthen legislation on noise pollution as provided for in the Agreed Programme for Government.
Dáil Éireann 638 Written Answers. Noise Pollution.