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SoundScapeIssue 02 49Max Dixon proclaims the Mini wayThe humble Mini may not have been the quietest car of its day but Sir Alec Issigonis' revolutionary concept of 'small on the outside but big on the inside' meant that it was relatively light in weight and fleet of foot, as shown so vividly in The Italian Job.Engines have since become quieter, but cars themselves have generally become heavier, and the added weight has meant tyres have grown. The wider a given type of tyre, the more noise it produces. Indeed, the wider the tyre, the louder the regulations allow it to be. Above first gear in a modern car, tyre noise often dominates over mechanical noise. If we really want less traffic noise, we need not just to choose the quietest available tyres available, but rediscover to the Mini way and move towards lighter cars which tread more gently on the planet - and our eardrums. Check out do the neighbours think of it all?Actually, they pop round and give me a hand! In fact, that would be my top tip: if you know you are going to make some noise, invite the neighbours over. Knowing the source of the noise and having been warned about it somehow makes it manageable. How do you prevent noise from invading your council?At Wandsworth we aim to be proactive and encourage people to register their house alarms. We give out information leaflets to estate agents for new residents and have stalls at local festivals and during Noise Action Week. It is important for everyone to understand that we are not here to stop people having fun. We encourage residents to let us know if they are going to be making some noise, that way we can more easily deal with complaints and contact them directly if they are causing a disturbance. These steps help us to deal more efficiently with cases, especially as in the summer months we can get 60-70 calls in a night.Do you have a good relationship with local police?Being in London, the police are very busy but we have what we call a 'naughty boys meeting' every month with community safety, social services and housing associations. We do the same with 'persistent offender' licensed premises. That way if a site has a history with the police, there is shared information and we can count on their support. Are people more willing to complain than before?People think they know more about noise but often their information is not accurate. They will copy their councillors on emails which often complicates matters more than speeds things up when misinformation needs to be corrected. We work hard on behalf of our complainants and simply ask that they give us the opportunity to prove it. Local hero? We think so.

SoundScapeIssue 0250