CEA says it has no legal mandate to check community noise
The Central Environmental Authority ( CEA) has neither a mechanism to measure "community noise" nor a legal mandate to deal with offenders, the Authority informed the Colombo Chief Magistrat e ’ s Court this week.
The admission came when a noise pollution case filed against the Waters Edge Hotel was t a ken up befo r e Additional Magistrate Kanchana N. Silva.
The CEA told court that since it did not have the mandate to deal with noise pollution, it would recommend that the parties to the case reach an amicable settlement.
The Welikada Police filed action against Waters Edge following complaints f rom Milinda Nirmal Weerasinghe and 15 other residents from K ala paluwa wain Rajagiriya. They complained that the use of loudspeakers and fireworks displays at outdoor functions at the hotel were disturbing the peace in the night and causing immense distress to area residents.
President's Counsel Shavindra Fernando who appeared for Waters Edge told court that while there were regulations for measuring industrial and vehicle noise, no such regulations existed for measuring community noise. He said the hotel was giving an assurance that in future it would conduct its functions without disturbing area residents. He said the hotel was ready to come to a settlement with the complainants since there were no provi- sions to continue with the case.
Senior Attorney- atLaw Nalinda Indatissa, who appeared for the residents, pointed out that a Supreme Court ruling had decreed how to act in such an instance.
Mr. Fernando, however, countered that the Supreme Court decision was only applicable to a particular case and that it did not have a broader scope.
Taking the submissions into consideration, Additional Magistrate Silva ruled that until the parties reached a settlement, the conditional order issued to Waters Edge should continue and in accordance with the order, that hotel has to stop loud noises emanating from outdoor functions. The case will be taken up again on January 7, 2019.