The Initiative To Make Our Homes And Gardens Less Noisy
The home, once a sanctuary from this cacophony, is now under siege. Vacuum cleaners, extractor fans and washing machines may all be essential but even Ideal Home visitors admitted that their household appliances were harming their enjoyment of domestic life.
In 1959 John Connell became so annoyed by the lack of legislation over noise, which he called the “forgotten pollutant,” that he founded the Noise Abatement Society which swiftly led to the first Act of Parliament. Connell was not just dreaming about reducing noise but finding practical solutions: he introduced rubber dustbin lids and plastic milk crates for example.
Some years ago Connell’s Granddaughter launched an accreditation scheme called Quiet Mark, with a purple Q as its logo. Quiet Mark can be awarded to almost anything from cars to food processors. It has even been awarded to a treehouse. The Quiet Mark treehouse, unveiled at the Ideal Home exhibition and featured at Hampton Court, is the result of a collaboration of sponsors including Lexus and John Lewis to focus attention on noise pollution.
The interior of the treehouse was fitted out by John Lewis to launch their new range of Quiet Mark domestic appliances, from hoovers to just about everything else. You will never again have to stop the party because you need to make mayonnaise.
Among the products on show, all of which have been awarded a Quiet Mark, were garden machines that run on lithium iron batteries rather than petrol and are incomparably quieter. They include mowers, chainsaws and leaf blowers. You cannot eradicate noise from machinery altogether, much of the racket of a chainsaw comes from cutting through the wood.
But from next year new EU laws will regulate the level of decibels (the only international measure of noise) from new machines: that is one piece of EU red tape we do not want to cut through.