SINGAPORE: A panel tackling neighbourhood noise has been convened, meeting for the first time on Friday (Apr 29) with the objective of developing community norms to address the issue of noise disturbance faced by residents here.
The Community Advisory Panel on Neighbourhood Noise aims to "shape positive community norms to mitigate neighbourhood noise disturbances", said the Municipal Services Office (MSO) and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) in a joint press release.
This comes amid a rise in feedback regarding neighbourhood noise since 2020, said MSO and MCCY, noting this could be due to more people spending more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senior Minister of State for National Development Sim Ann first announced plans to convene the panel in March.
Made up of nine representatives from the social, academia and people sectors, the panel is chaired by Dr William Wan, general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement.
The members have experience in "managing municipal issues, advocating positive social norms, mediating disputes as well as in acoustic engineering", said MSO and MCCY.
They include Professor Gan Woon-Seng, professor of audio engineering at the Nanyang Technological University's School of Electrical Electronic Engineering, Filos Community Services executive director Dr Foo Fung Fong and Ms Lela Kaur, master mediator at the Community Mediation Centre.
"These norms developed by the (panel) should reflect a shared understanding within our community, on what constitutes reasonable or unreasonable disturbances and what good neighbourly behaviour to reduce noise disturbances on our neighbours is," said MSO and MCCY.
They added that such norms can help facilitate dialogue and discussion among neighbours with differences in views over noise issues.
"They will also serve as a useful benchmark and common reference for public advisories, when facilitating mediation and decision-making at the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunal," they said.
MSO and MCCY will work with the panel to organise public consultation sessions from June this year.
MSO will also undertake research to draw relevant best practices from overseas, with findings from both the research and public engagements to be used to guide the recommendations of the panel.
The panel is expected to submit their recommendations to the Ministry of National Development and MCCY by the end of this year.
“Disputes among neighbours over noise do strain our social cohesion. Yet, what constitutes unacceptable noise is subjective as different people have different levels of tolerance," said Dr Wan.
"The panel seeks to engage a wide segment of the public in a conversation about how we deal with noise disturbances in the community," he said, adding it also aims to "foster a stronger consensus on how we can accommodate and live harmoniously with one another".
“The pandemic has changed many things in our society, and one of them could well be our tolerance for noise," said Senior Minister of State Ms Sim.
"I hope the panel can help us arrive at reasonable community expectations and obligations when it comes to maintaining peace and quiet in our neighbourhoods.”