Noise Action Week 2018 – Reducing the health impacts of noise pollution

Noise Action Week 2018 offers a timely opportunity for those involved in noise management to raise awareness of the cost of noise to our health and promote practical ways to prevent noise. This includes local councils, housing providers and acoustics professionals as well as communities blighted by noise.

Noise pollution is now recognised by the Chief Medical Officer in England as second only to air pollution in damaging public health. She also says noise is very likely the pollutant that has the greatest impact on our quality of life. Surveys have found over 80% of people are exposed to noise pollution at home, and nearly half of people are bothered by intrusive traffic noise in their homes. The effects of disturbing noises in our neighbourhoods are less easy to quantify. However most of us have suffered the impacts of late night parties, persistently barking dogs and high decibel DIY. Noise Action Week 2018 will focus on:

  • Noise in neighbourhoods
  • Noise from pubs, clubs and music venues
  • Noise from houses in multiple occupation

Managing noise problems is expensive – and can cost councils £130 – £7k per complaint. This excludes the cost to the complainant of disturbance, lost sleep and time collecting evidence if a problem is subject to investigation.

The Chief Medical Officer says: “Pollution is like junk food – it doesn’t hit you on the day but it can accumulate and do you harm. Noise (and light) both impact on sleep affecting performance and mental health. Noise in particular is the single largest cause of complaints to local authorities.”

Alan Bratt, Chair of the EPUK Noise Committee says: “We welcome the recognition of health impact of noise on society by the Chief Medical Officer. It serves to highlight the importance of Noise Action Week, which is an annual opportunity to promote practical solutions to preventing noise problems arising, as well as the remedies available for reducing noise.”

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Notes for editors:

  1. Annual report of the Chief Medical Officer 2017: health impacts of all pollution – what do we know?
  2. Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs. National Noise Attitude Survey 2012 (NNA2012), December 2014.
  3. European Environment Agency, Noise in Europe 2014.
  4. Estimating the cost of complaints about noise nuisance, Defra 2012
  5. A Noise Action Week – initially an annual day – to raise awareness of noise has been co-ordinated by Environmental Protection UK since 1997. The week is run on a small budget.
    We are grateful to our 2018 sponsors – Institute of Acoustics, Bruel and Kjaer, Cirrus Research Ltd, Defra and the Bristol Gloucestershire, Somerset & Wiltshire Environmental Protection Group.



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