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'No need for sound disputes'.


Bejay Browne

THE ONGOING problem of high noise levels being emitted from music venues could easily be solved by enforcing a few practical changes to the law, according to industry professionals.

The comments were made in the wake of a huge fracas at a Paphos bar during the weekend over sound levels, which left three police officers injured, and the same number of men in custody.

According to Paphos police, the bar owners took umbrage at the police removing the loudspeakers and sound system and tried to prevent it.

Costas Arsinas the secretary of the Paphos branch of the Cyprus association of bars and restaurants said: "I'm a member of the committee that is discussing the use of decibel meters in Cyprus, which I think would solve many problems."

The non-use of decibel meters in Cyprus has long been the subject of debate, with music venues pushing for changes to the law to ensure that the meters will be legally used by police and other officials. Currently, police in Cyprus are not furnished with meters, although many owners do use them to keep track of levels.

According to police, if music can be heard in a public place outside a venue, it's illegal.

Arsinas noted that the use of decibel meters to measure levels of noise pollution was voted in by parliament in 2007, but the law has yet to be implemented in Cyprus.

He said: "There are a few technical problems raised in a study conducted by a department of the Ministry of the Interior and we are now waiting for representatives of the Greek company- who make the specifications on the technicalities of decibel meters and how to best use them - to visit Cyprus and discuss the matter."

Arsinas said that a noise study is being undertaken for each area. They will then be given a different noise level to comply with.

"More details are needed for the law to be implemented; it should've started this year," he said.

Arsinas believes that there is a 'logical sound level for every area' which will eradicate problems and will also allow people to enjoy themselves and have fun.

"At the moment there really isn't any control, police can give a ticket as they see fit. This isn't correct and acceptable sound levels should be the same for everyone."

A well established entertainer - who wished to remain unnamed- has worked all over the world and been based in Cyprus for close to a decade said: "Politicians make the laws, police enforce the laws - but they are enforcing bad laws."

He added: "In many counties in Europe, sound pollution laws are adequate and are enforced correctly, for example in Mallorca in Spain this started at least 15 years ago."

The entertainer said that people have to stop blaming the police, agreeing that they can be heavy-handed at times, but stressed that the laws they are working with are outdated.

He said; "As I understand it, in Cyprus if you can hear music from a venue if you're standing outside, it's against the law. This is complete rubbish and not at all scientific."

He said that in the UK and Spain they make venues soundproof by double-glazing windows and installing the correct sound system for the venue.

They also put a limiter on the sound system so no matter how much you turn up the volume, the sound doesn't increase at all."

"I have played at venues in Cyprus before where the gig has been brought to a halt by police," he said.

A lot of the audiences I play to are tourists and so to them it's a serious business when they see police piling into a venue, they usually think the worst, that there's been a murder or something. In Europe it's not usual to see police at a live music venue."

Copyright Cyprus Mail 2012

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Geographic Code:4EXCY
Date:May 23, 2012
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