Noise in cities is an issue. In Panama City they have chosen to legislate against noise. In the city, noise levels cannot exceed 60d(B)A from 6 pm to 10 pm and after 10 pm the threshold is 50 d(B)A.
In order to learn more about this legislation, among other things, we have talked to our distributor in Panama City, Diana Lajon.
Noise legislation in Panama City
The legislation exists because noise can be harmful. That is why the City Commission bans noise within Panama City: ”I can say the noise levels in residential areas close to industry (bars, clubs, factories, restaurants) is closely monitored”, says Diana Lajon.
In order to comply with the noise limits – and thereby the legislation – all establishments with loud speakers and public access must measure noise levels with a noise meter. The noise meters should send a notification to the authorities, if noise levels are exceeded, making sure the legislation is upheld:
” Inspectors from the Ministry of Health and the Mayor’s office pay visits to places with noise complaints and the owners are fined if noise levels are too high”, says Diana Lajon.
If you suspect that somebody exceeds the noise level threshold you should notify the Police.
You can be sanctioned with a fine or prosecution, if you do not abide by the law. So, all music venues and bars in the city have to adhere to the noise threshold in the time frame stated in the law. If you exceed the threshold multiple times, the fine will increase in size.
” This fine according to the law increases each time an establishment exceeds the noise levels stated in the law”, Diana Lajon explains.
How is noise in cities regulated?
When looking at the noise legislation in Panama City it is interesting to take a closer look at how noise is regulated in other cities – such as Copenhagen.
In Copenhagen noise is also an issue. A lot of citizens complain about noise nuisances. Therefore, the Municipality of Copenhagen are focused on finding solutions that ensure a balance between noise and being able to live in the city.
Ways to reduce noise in Copenhagen
There are two points of focus in Copenhagen, when it comes to noise:
- Creating a balance for citizens who want a lively city with parties, but also want some peace and quiet
- Creating a balance for small business owners with stores etc. who want a clean city
These focal points can be compared to the way the noise legislation in Panama City works. In this city, they have managed to create a balance lively parties and peace and quiet, because they have regulation that frame when and where noise levels must be brought down.
Copenhagen has a Plan for Nightlife and in the plan, it is evident that Copenhagen should continue to be a lively city, but that an effort must be made to minimize the nuisances associated with the Nightlife. The municipality of Copenhagen is interested in fighting the noise with technology. This lines up with how noise in Panama City’s nightlife is regulated. One way of lowering noise levels is by using a SoundEar (indsæt link).
The municipality of Copenhagen furthermore has a noise guard, whom you can call if you are bothered by noise from music venues or other establishments. When it comes to noise on the streets or from private parties, the Police are the ones to go to.
Noise in London
Another city suffering from loud noise levels is London. Here, we focus on Westminster, in central London, where noise from city nightlife is a big issue. In fact, the City Commission receives 17,000 noise complaints every year.
Westminster’s noise strategy
Westminster, like other cities, have made plan to ensure a balance between city life and noise.
If you are throwing a party, there are guidelines for when you can do so in order to comply with the city restrictions. If you do not comply with the restrictions, and you receive a complaint, you will be paid a visit by the noise team in Westminster or by the Police. It may be necessary to analyse the source of noise further, and a noise meter will be necessary to install.
Noise, nightlife and city living
All the three cities we have looked at focus on keeping down noise levels, making sure that the city accommodates everybody as far as that is possible. In these three cities, the aim is to create a balance between nightlife and city living. These cities are not the only ones trying to keep down noise levels. If you want to learn more about noise in cities, you can read our blog post on noise in Malmö, Sweden.
We have covered three different approaches to regulating noise. They all have one thing in common; they try to create a balance between nightlife and city living.
Draft of Copenhagen Restaurant – and Nightlife plan 2017: https://blivhoert.kk.dk/sites/blivhoert.kk.dk/files/280417-Restaurations-%20og%20nattelivsplan%202017.pdf
Panama City, Official website: https://www.pcgov.org/155/Code-Enforcement
Westminster noise pollution: https://www.westminster.gov.uk/noise-pollution
Westminster noise strategy: file:///C:/Users/Deirdre/Downloads/final_westminster_noise_strategy.pdf