What's up, Europe? Gender, media and European integration. The story of a a young Dane exploring the continent.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Goodbye to bagpipes

The British press is probably the most Euro-skeptic in Europe - or perhaps it is more precise to limit the critique to British tabloids such as the Sun and the Daily Express. Here the so-called 'Euromyths' are more alive and kicking than anywhere else. Check out one of the many non-truths which have been published throughout recent years:


In Scotland, bagpipes recently faced the axe under rules to slash noise pollution. The EU proposal was intended to ban noises louder than 87 decibels… (The Sun 2 August 2005)


As for banning bagpipes, Scots can rest assured that their favourite musical instrument is not under threat from EU proposals on noise pollution. While new measures will come into force next year, they are designed primarily for those who work with loud machinery for a sustained period – more than 87 decibels for eight hours in a row. The law, voted on by ministers and MEPs (including those from the UK), will from 2008 cover the entertainment industry, but will apply only to workers rather than audiences.

If, in the highly unlikely event a bagpipe player is hired to play continuously for eight hours, and the noise created averaged more than 87 decibels, the employer would be obliged to carry out a risk assessment to see where changes can be made – tinkering with the acoustics in a hall to reduce echoes, for example. If that fails, personal protection such as earmuffs will need to be considered, but only as a last resort. Banning musical instruments is not an option. Guarding against hearing loss and stress, which sustained exposure to loud noise has been proven to cause, is the only thing in the pipeline here.

Check out more Euromyths at the home page of the Commission's London office or read the most recent misrepresentations in the press watch section. With comments such as "press lay bare their EU boobs" and "a lot of wrongness about correctness" the Eurocrats in London are certainly not without a sense of humour ;-)

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