CIEH call on candidates to reinstate noise controls

city scape - west londonThe Chartered Institute for Environmental Health are adding their voice to the pre-election noise and have published their own manifesto setting public health priorities. Proper consideration of noise by planning is included – in the interests of a healthy environment and safe, healthy communities – as it should be.

This welcome manifesto flags up the current issue of planning and noise in urban areas – where recent adjustments to planning guidance are shifting the onus on noise reduction from an existing business to any ‘noise sensitive development’ – most likely residences – that might be built nearby. It also implies reference to the recent liberalisation of licensing laws that allow venues to stage music for audiences of up to 200 without applying for a license. The manifesto is asking candidates to pledge to:

  • “reinstate the need for all potentially noisy entertainment to be licensed and for both noise-making and other development likely to be affected by noise to be subject to planning applications.”


  • “give stronger powers to the planning system linked to public health objectives.”

The role of environmental health practitioners (EHPS), and other environmental health professionals includes working to ensure people are protected from environmental factors detrimental to their health and well being – including noise. Noise is by far the largest source of complaints received by local authorities – and many more complaints are directed at police and housing providers – so the true magnitude of the problem remains unquantified.

The recent publication by Defra of figures on the the costs of noise complaints alone indicates that around 4 million a year is spent on investigating noise. The impact of noise on health can’t be quantified – but it takes a toll. n the face of an inexorably rising NHS bill, all of these functions pay dividends by reducing the call on health services. However, raising awareness of the problems noise can cause and the often simple solutions that can prevent noise during Noise Action Week can only help reduce the financial and health costs of noise.

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