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Hush...capital's quiet havens to be recognised

DUBLIN'S havens of tranquillity are to get official recognition from the Department of the Environment.

They're the places where people go to escape the hustle and bustle of city life -- for a few precious moments at least.

The seven locations are to be officially branded 'quiet areas'.

Among them are the popular Blessington Basin on Blessington Street in Dublin 7 and Mount Bernard Park in Phibsborough.

Three of the seven sites -- Palmerstown Park in Dartry, Ranelagh Gardens and the Cabbage Patch on Cathedral Lane in Dublin 2 -- will have the title of 'relatively quiet area'.

The other locations are Edenmore Park and St Anne's Park, both in Raheny, and Dollymount Strand (pictured).

Dublin City Council has recommended the list be put forward to Environment Minister Phil Hogan for approval.

The designation will mean the council has to ensure the areas are not over-exposed to noise.

If periodic monitoring shows breaches of acceptable levels, the local authority will have to take action.

While there are "no uniform set of binding rules", the areas should not be exposed to high sound levels, a Department of the Environment spokesman said.

The council could decide to impose noise mitigation measures under a range of powers including traffic and land-use planning.







Disturb

"Noise can disrupt people's conversations, interfere with rest and sleep, thus increasing stress levels, disturb concentration and impinge on all kinds of daily activities," a report from the local authority states.

For some, noise is an "unwanted disturbance that negatively impacts on their quality of life and may have an effect on their health and well-being", it adds.

The city's first noise action plan was adopted in 2008 and runs to November next year. The next noise action plan for Dublin is due by July 18, 2013.

"The aims of noise action plans include the protection of quiet areas," the Department of the Environment said.

The criterion for a quiet area is established as a location which is exposed to daytime noise levels of below 55 decibels -- the equivalent to the level on a suburban street.

Night time sounds have to be below 45 decibels.

A relatively quiet area is defined by its proximity to zones of high sound levels but which "provide a perceived area of tranquillity", the council says.

It adds: "The use and enjoyment of many natural resources, such as our green spaces and sea frontage, can be further enhanced through the preservation of low sound levels or the reduction in undesirably high levels."

The areas provide "respite from the noisy 'hustle and bustle' often experienced in the busy urban environment", the council report states.

comurphy@herald.ie


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