No loud music or shouting: Spain's Valencia wages war on noise 

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No loud music or shouting: Spain's Valencia wages war on noise 
People gather to watch the traditional and very noisy 'Mascletà' (firecrackers show) during the Fallas festival in Valencia. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / AFP)

Valencia, the city with arguably the world's noisiest festival (Las Fallas), wants to pass an anti-noise bylaw which will punish everything from playing loud music at the beach, to shouting in the street or chiming church bells at the wrong time. 


Valencia authorities want their city to become a quieter place for residents and visitors, even though for a few days every year its Mascletà firecrackers tradition (part of Las Fallas festival) sees decibel levels reach highs of 120db that represent a health hazard for babies and animals in particular. 

During its plenary session on Thursday February 23rd, Valencia City Hall expects to implement a pre-approved bylaw which includes a wide array of acoustic prohibitions and limitations.


Playing a musical instrument too loudly, shouting or talking at an excessively loud volume, moving furniture or other belongings, having the TV’s volume up too high, playing loud music on a phone or speaker in public spaces such as the beach, using noisy machinery such as drills or appliances like washing machines at the wrong time, preventing church bells from chiming between 10pm and 8am or limiting the volume of music that can be played at bar terraces and nightclubs are just some of the limitations that are expected to be brought in.

Fines for these acoustic pollution offences will go from €601 to €6,000.

The legislation will also purportedly prevent new bars and restaurants from opening closer than 30 metres from other similar venues in residential areas of the city, 65 metres for pubs and nightclubs, a big ask in a country where blocks of flats and hospitality venues are all tightly packed together.   

Valencia’s Councillor for Air and Acoustic Quality Giuseppe Grezzi has said that "the contributions made by neighbourhood associations have had a special weight in the set of rules” that make up the updated bylaw.  

The eastern Spanish city of 800,000 residents has had a set of noise limitations in place since 1991 and people and businesses have been fined accordingly, but in neighbourhoods such as the Casco Antiguo (old quarter) residents stress that not enough is being done to clamp down on excessive noise.

It’s not the first time that a Spanish city has attempted to crack down on noisy behaviour. 

In 2014, Seville went as far as banning noisy domino and dice games in outdoor café areas.

Authorities in the Balearic islands of Mallorca and Ibiza have also tried to clamp down on the noise caused by rowdy party boats navigating around its coastline.  

In 2021, Spain was ranked as the noisiest country on the planet together with Japan. The two countries have been switching top spot over the past decade, fighting over who can be the most ear-splitting for its residents.

Around nine million people in Spain are exposed to noise levels above 65 decibels, the recommended threshold by the WHO.

READ ALSO: Which is the noisiest city in Spain?



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