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Dutch school forced to partially close playground after locals complain about noise

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Dutch school forced to partially close playground after locals complain about noise
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A Dutch primary school is being forced to partially close its playground after residents living nearby complained about the noise.

The school, De Buut Primary in Nijmegen, has been ordered to close the pupil's football field by the end of the month - or face a fine of up to €10,000.

It comes after complaints made by residents in an apartment block situated opposite the school led to an investigation by the local council.

In the Netherlands, the noise pollution limit is set at 70 decibels, but the council investigation found that children playing in De Buut's playground surpassed this by 18 decibels.

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More than 4,000 people have signed a petition to save the field, which has been used by pupils and other children in the local area for 40 years.

The petition argues that the area contains "the only playing field in the neighbourhood and is used daily by children [from all over] to play, exercise and learn".

A sign hung in protest at the playground referred to the Dutch women's football team, which reached the final of the recent World Cup.

"Orange lionesses also have to start somewhere," the sign read.

Erik Roelofsen, the director of the Dutch Noise Pollution Foundation (NSG), said it was "understandable" that the residents had complained about 88 decibels, but that the fault lay with the local government.

Speaking to Euronews, he said: "The main solution was in the spatial planning of the apartments. These apartments were planned wrong."

"The school was there first and the playground also. So the municipality did the wrong thing."

But Dutch MP Rudmer Heerema, a sports and education spokesperson, argued the irony in choosing to live next to a school and complaining about the noise.

He wrote on Twitter: "You go and live next to a sports field where children enjoy sports and exercise, then you file a complaint against noise..."

"A solution must be found for this. Children must be able to exercise and move."

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