Sat, May 05, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Construction noise out of hand: DPP

NOISY NEIGHBORS:A DPP lawmaker said the Taipei city government had to do more to regulate nighttime construction after almost 9,000 complaints were made

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilor yesterday said that the Taipei City Government must avoid issuing permits for nighttime construction work despite growing complaints about noise pollution caused by such projects.

DPP Taipei City Councilor Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤) cited information provided by Taipei City’s Department of Public Construction and said the city government approved 2,538 nighttime constructions over the past four years. It received 8,888 complaints about noise because of nighttime work.

However, the city government only issued warnings to about 20 percent of construction projects that received complaints and 40 percent of those cases were subsequently not fined.

“Apparently nighttime construction projects have been a nightmare for Taipei residents, but the city government does not feel the public’s pain. Besides, most of the construction firms would rather pay fines than delay construction. Local residents are the biggest victims,” she told a press conference at the Taipei City Council.

According to city regulations on the prevention of noise pollution, construction firms are banned from working between 10pm and 6am.

However, the local government has the authority to approve nighttime constructions under special situations, such as emergency cases involving public safety, utility use, or constructions for international events.

Construction companies that conduct nighttime building without a permit face a fine of NT$3,000 to NT$30,000. Even those companies that do have construction permits can still be fined between NT$18,000 and NT$90,000 if the noise exceeds the limits, the regulations stated.

Wu lashed out at the city government, saying it was succumbing to big conglomerates’ pressures and acting passively in handling nighttime noise complaints.

For example, throughout the construction of Taipei Dome in Xinyi District (信義), the city government has issued 12 tickets to the construction firm for illegal nighttime constructions over the past months. However, the Farglory Group (遠雄集團) chose to pay the fines and persisted with their illegal acts.

In response, Wei Kuo-chung (魏國忠), a division chief at Taipei City’s Construction Management Office, said the city government only approved one nighttime construction last year.

It had also clamped down on more than 40 illegal nighttime construction cases, he added.

However, Wei promised that the office would increase efforts to regulate nighttime constructions and ensure that noise pollution at night was kept down as much as possible.

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