Presentation to the 2016 National conference of the IOA

Presentation to the 2016 National conference of the IOA of his thesis “A Measurement Method for Rating the Daytime Noise Impact of Church Bells’.


Measuring sound levels at Derby Cathedral
Measuring sound levels of Derby Cathedral

The ringing of church bells has always been intended to be an effective form of communication. This can be the call to prayer, as timekeeping and for other occasions. The increase in development within an already compact urban environment has potential for daytime complaints. The ringing of bells to call the parish to public worship is deemed to have valid defence to action of private nuisance and the impact of chimes at night can be managed by use of current measurement methods. However, there is no recognised assessment methodology or criteria for assessing the impact of daytime ringing for other occasions. Existing guidance and standards provide methodologies for assessing the impact of sounds but normally as a negative contribution to the sound environment. Bells however, may be argued as being music and a distinction between music and noise can be drawn. In rating the measurement of bells by subjective factors, careful consideration is given to the difference between generic subjective factors and those of individual context. Three existing measurement processes are assessed for their appropriateness to the measurement of church bells. The relationship between all three is found to be essential in generating a generic figure for adapting the absolute measured figures and the threshold to which the modified figure can then be related. This is tested in a real world location in conjunction with a social survey.

Acknowledging the limitations of the study, these results are combined into a draft measurement and rating method for the daytime ringing of church bells.

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