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Last Updated: Monday, 24 July 2006, 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK
Army musicians told to pipe down
Lone piper from the Black Watch
Bagpipes have played a major role in Scottish regiments
Army bagpipers have been ordered to limit playing indoors to 15 minutes a day under new health and safety rules set out by the Ministry of Defence.

Soldiers at Edinburgh's Army Piping School also face a 24 minute restriction when playing outdoors.

The advice, aimed at preventing hearing problems, was issued after a study by the Army Medical Directorate.

Tests showed that outside the sound of bagpipes could reach 111 decibels - about as loud as a pneumatic drill.

Indoors it could reach 116 decibels, or as loud as a chainsaw.

Soldiers have been told they must wear earplugs if they practise for longer periods.

A spokesman for the Army said: "We have a duty of care to protect the hearing of all our soldiers.

"We are carrying out that duty of care in implementing this recommendation."

Bagpipes have played a major role in Scottish regiments, with members being piped into battle by kilted soldiers.

About 100 soldiers are based at the piping school. They are currently training for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which will be held in August.

Gauge the noise level generated by the bagpipes

Boy reeling after pipe down order
09 Dec 05 |  Scotland
Pipes 'pose no health risks'
25 Aug 03 |  Scotland

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