Extending quiet period by 1.5 hours part of recommendations to manage neighbourhood noise
The panel recommended that quiet hours be extended from the current 10.30pm to 7am to between 10pm and 8am.
SINGAPORE: A panel tackling neighbourhood noise has submitted its recommendations to manage noise disturbances, which include extending quiet hours by 1.5 hours.
The Community Advisory Panel (CAP) on Neighbourhood Noise submitted the recommendations to the Municipal Services Office and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) on Saturday (Nov 19) after conducting public engagements from May to September 2022.
Among the recommendations is the extension of quiet hours by 1.5 hours, from the current 10.30pm to 7am. The new recommended hours would be between 10pm and 8am.
CAP also urged residents to adhere to the quiet hours.
Other recommendations brought forward by the panel included calls for residents to resolve issues with their neighbours informally and the need for considerate behaviour outside of quiet hours.
"The proposed norms from CAP called for residents to resolve issues with their neighbours through informal discussions and relationship building, instead of approaching the authorities to intervene in the first instance," said the joint press release.
The panel, which was first convened in April, has proposed "a list of positive actions that residents should practise in their daily lives".
Recognising that community norms alone are insufficient to address all noise disputes, CAP also recommended that the Government review the process for managing disputes over community noise, and "support it with the right enforcement powers".
"This will deter offenders who deliberately create unacceptable noise, such as those who intentionally irritate their neighbours with noise, and allow stronger actions to be taken against them," it added.
The suggested process included the designation of an agency to respond to and take enforcement action against neighbourhood noise issues, making mediation between neighbours mandatory, and providing greater clarity on evidence required in the resolution of disputes.
The Panel also recommended the adoption of quantitative noise thresholds in the form of a decibel limit.
Senior Minister of State for National Development Sim Ann, speaking at the closing dialogue for the CAP on Neighbourhood Noise, said: "We need to strike a good balance between using informal means of neighbour dispute resolution vs using hard levers such as the law and government enforcement."
"On the one hand, using laws and enforcement may effectively eradicate certain problems – at least for a while. But during this process, we may lose something intangible and change the texture of society – going away from our ideals of building a more gracious, cohesive, considerate community where we can discuss problems with one another and to give and take," she said.
"Let us keep our neighbours in mind when going about our daily activities, and actively work together to build a better living environment for all to enjoy," Ms Sim added.
ENGAGING MORE THAN 4,000 MEMBERS OF PUBLIC
The report is a culmination of the public engagements conducted by the panel from May to September 2022.
The panel engaged close to 4,400 members of the public through focus group discussions, surveys, and meetings with relevant stakeholders in the drafting of the report, MCCY and the Municipal Services Office said.
"While these proposals may not be an immediate solution for some of the issues, we are confident they will over time help to build a kinder and quieter Singapore for residents.
"We look forward to working further with the Government on our proposals,” said Dr William Wan, Chairperson of the Community Advisory Panel on Neighbourhood Noise.
Ms Sim said that the panel "raised very useful suggestions, and we will look into them seriously."
"It is our intent under the Forward SG exercise to empower residents and partner the community in addressing community issues that (the) Government alone cannot resolve, particularly when it involves promoting positive community norms," she said.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, Ms Sim also said, "We all need to play a part in creating a #QuieterSG."
"CAP has raised several good suggestions in the report. The Government will review them seriously and provide more updates when ready," said Ms Sim in her post.