homeWednesday 22nd May 2019

Noise check-up for England

Katie Coyne11/10/2018 - 14:59

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Environmental noise mapping highlights problem areas
Environmental noise mapping highlights problem areas

England is to be given a noise check-up as it opens a consultation as part of its obligations under the EU Environmental Noise Directive.

As the government hosts the noise consultation in England, the World Health Organisation has released evidence that noise is one of the top environmental hazards to physical and mental health within Europe.

Under the Environmental Noise Directive, strategic noise maps and subsequent ‘action plans’ must be produced every five years

The plans are designed to manage environmental noise and reduce it, if necessary, and preserve quiet areas. They cover agglomerations, major roads and railways but not airports.

Strategic noise mapping has produced a series of action plans with the most recent noise mapping taking place last year. Defra has said it is not proposing any ‘substantial changes’ but rather a ‘continuation’ of previous policies but is seeking views as part of a six week consultation.

The Defra consultation overview highlighted Brexit as a concern: ‘The opportunities presented by EU exit will be a key part of these considerations going forward.

‘The government will work closely with stakeholders to ensure that our future approach to managing environmental noise in England best addresses the country’s needs.’

Noise is a devolved issue and the Scottish and Welsh governments and Northern Ireland Executive will consult separately.

Meanwhile, WHO said its latest noise work contained five significant developments that improved its guidelines on tackling noise pollution and supporting policy.

  • Stronger evidence of the cardiovascular and metabolic effects of environmental noise
  • Inclusion of new noise sources eg wind turbine noise and leisure noise, plus noise from transportation (aircraft, rail and road traffic)
  • Use of a standardized approach to assess the evidence
  • A systematic review of evidence, defining the relationship between noise exposure and risk of adverse health outcomes
  • Use of long-term average noise exposure indicators to better predict adverse health outcomes.

The consultation into noise in England closes on 15 November.




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