By Peter Stevenson
THE GOVERNMENT is ready to start implementing a law which was passed six years ago in its attempts to stamp out noise pollution.
An inter-ministerial meeting was held on Tuesday between Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou and Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis to discuss the matter.
“We have decided to act swiftly so that we can finally deal with this growing problem,” Hasikos said.
Hasikos said during discussions it was taken into consideration that Cyprus was a tourist destination. He added that he was also aware that especially Ayia Napa is a preferred destination for clubbers who are attracted by loud music.
“What we are trying to establish today is what is considered an acceptable level of noise and in what ways we can measure that noise accurately with the use of technology, how to keep noise under control, who is responsible for that noise and according to the law how to punish any wrongdoers,” he added.
Hasikos added that efforts would be made to implement the law passed in 2007 which made it illegal to cause noise pollution.
“What we have established since the law was passed is that there are no foolproof ways to measure noise pollution accurately so any complaints taken to court had no basis and therefore nothing could be done about it,” he said.
The minister said that local authorities, district offices and the interior ministry were responsible for handing out music permits to bars and club but they were also responsible for revoking them. Implementing the law was the job of the police, he said.
Asked about popular clubbing spots like Ayia Napa, Mackenzie Beach in Larnaca and Yermasoyia in Limassol, the minister said they have been classified as ‘areas of tolerance’ due to their value to tourism.
“This does not mean our tolerance will apply for the whole of Ayia Napa, and specific areas will be under the control and discretion of local authorities so the whole system can run smoothly,” he added.
The justice minister said that for police to correctly measure the level of noise pollution they would need specific equipment. Up until now, Nicolaou said, noise measurement had been subjective and made it very difficult to make a case in court.
“Decisions were made today which we believe will help clarify what we expect regarding noise pollution,” he said.
“In certain areas which are classified as residential, the noise limit will obviously be less than areas which are classified as clubbing areas,” he added.
Kouyialis said his ministry would deal with the technical side of things and set the noise pollution level and also supply the equipment needed.