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Last Updated: Friday, 9 December 2005, 12:41 GMT
Boy reeling after pipe down order
Andrew Caulfield

A schoolboy from Paisley has been told to stop practising his bagpipes outside his home after he was found breaking anti-social behaviour law noise limits.

Andrew Caulfield, 13, was sent a warning letter from Renfrewshire Council after a complaint from a neighbour about his music.

He said he was very disappointed, particularly as he gives up his own time to teach others how to play.

The council said it was trying to mediate in a neighbourhood dispute.

Andrew stressed he had played at public events, such as piping Santa into town for the Christmas lights switch-on and at Paisley Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday.

He has also been asked by the local authority to join a 30,000 drive to encourage youngsters to take up the bagpipes.

We've got letters here saying that he could be fined or the instruments confiscated
Elaine Caulfield

Andrew said: "I've been picked to go round schools to show kids the pipes and play in front of them to promote the council's piping school.

"What's the point in teaching kids pipes if they can't practise?"

His mother, Elaine, added: "It's very two-faced of the council to be wanting somebody to be involved in the council initiative, yet they're banning him from practising.

"He just practises during the day and in the evenings during the summer."

She went on: "We bought a small set of pipes and the neighbour complained about that.

Resolve dispute

"They didn't want any musical instrument being played at all which angered me very much.

"We've got letters here saying that he could be fined or the instruments confiscated."

However, a spokeswoman for Renfrewshire Council said it was trying to help resolve a neighbourhood dispute.

"There has been no Asbo, no Asbo threat and no noise abatement order," she said.

We have received several complaints and a petition signed by local residents referring to excessive noise from the outdoor playing of bagpipes
Renfrewshire Council spokeswoman

Checks were carried out after neighbours had complained about the noise, and found that it breached the Anti-social Behaviour Act's permitted daytime level of 41 decibels.

"We have received several complaints and a petition signed by local residents referring to excessive noise from the outdoor playing of bagpipes," said the spokeswoman.

"We want to resolve this matter in an amicable fashion for everyone involved and have offered various support mechanisms, such as mediation, to do this."

The spokeswoman added that there was no impact on the piping initiative being run through its schools.

"Each pupil involved in this programme is given practise chanter pipes to take home, which are substantially quieter than proper bagpipes and produce noise levels similar to that of a recorder so should be able to used inside the home without causing such disturbance," she said.


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