herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Councillor seeks to change law on ice cream chimes

Newly elected councillor Justin Sinnott and Cllr Darragh Butler/
Newly elected councillor Justin Sinnott and Cllr Darragh Butler/

A Dublin councillor is attempting to change the legislation regarding the noise levels of ice cream vans after receiving several complaints in his constituency.

Fingal County councillor Justin Sinnott will ask a TD to pose the question to the Oireachtas after his proposition was shot down at a local area committee meeting.

Mr Sinnott asked the Chief Executive at the Balbriggan/Swords area committee meeting on Thursday what steps can be taken to "tackle the issue of excessive noise coming from ice-cream vans".

He said that the question came as a result of several complaints made by residents in the Meakstown area, with one estate in particular being very critical of the noise of the vendors.

"The question was tabled because of several complaints I received from Meakstown residents and from one estate in particular. I noticed it myself when I was out canvassing in the area last summer," Mr Sinnott told the Herald.

"I floated the issue around to some of my colleagues in the council and they also agreed that there were several complaints made about loud ice cream van chimes," he adde

Mr Sinnott was quick to say that he doesn't want to put any ice cream vendors out of business and understands that they are simply trying to make a living.

Inconvenience

However, he feels that the noise levels from vans creates an "inconvenience" for families in the area, especially when it occurs late in the evening.

"It's not to say that I want vendors to stop selling ice cream, I understand they have to make a living, but people are taking issue with the loud noises of their chimes," the councillor stated.

The response Mr Sinnott received was that there are no legal limits for noise levels, length or times played from a van or otherwise.

"The council has no jurisdiction in this matter, so I will be asking a fellow Independent TD such as Roisin Shorthall to put the matter to the Oireachtas and hopefully bring some sort of legislation in play," he explained.

There is currently legislation in place to control the amount of noise pollution that is acceptable from commercial premises or works.

The Environmental Agency Protection Act 1992 gives local authorities the power to require measures to be taken to prevent or limit noise and allows for complaints to be reported to the Environment Section of the relevant authority.

However the legislation does not include articles that deal with the noise levels of mobile work vehicles such as ice cream vans, which is why Mr Sinnott is seeking to have the issue put before the Oireachtas.

Although Mr Sinnott feels the noise decibels could be lowered by ice cream vans, he does not feel the chimes lead to an "aggressive form" of selling or add to the problem of childhood obesity.

"I don't feel the music played by ice cream vans impacts the demand, parents are doing a great job at keeping their kids healthy and I don' think an ice cream chime will change that," Mr Sinnott said.

Last summer Fine Gael senator Catherine Noone called for all ice cream vans to be regulated.

Aggressive

Ms Noone warned that the "persistent use of chimes" by ice cream vans represents an "aggressive form of selling".

The Dublin senator said she believes the "pester power" of these vans were adding to the issue of child obesity.

Speaking in the Seanad at the time, Ms Noone admitted her call for regulation will be met with humour.

But she said the impact of these vans on obesity among children is very serious.

"As I talk about it, it does seem frivolous on the face of it. But it relates to an issue of pester power," Ms Noone said.

"It's not that I'm anti ice cream but the persistent use of chimes in public streets and in estates is an aggressive form of selling and it wouldn't be countenanced in any other industry.

rschiller@herald.ie

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