EPUK call for more support for local council noise professionals

Noise Action Week Work Cloud

During Noise Action Week1 Environmental Protection UK2 are highlighting the need to support the essential work of environmental health professionals (EHPs) on the front line tackling noise in our neighbourhoods.

Currently 19% of EHPs – roughly 664 – specialise in environmental protection (which includes noise and air pollution) – that’s 1 – 2 specialist EHPs per local authority in England. These are the findings of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) recent workforce survey3.

In addition, a third of responding authorities said delivery of statutory duties is at risk, with 14 specifying statutory nuisance, noise and environmental protection services as being under particular threat.

EHPs provide a wide range of services, with investigating noise complaints and advising business on noise management just a part of their role. Research from During the pandemic these services, which are critical to protecting public health, have been more stretched than ever.

Replies to an FOI sent to London councils during spring 2020 lockdown found many reported an increase in neighbour noise complaints4.

Robin Whitehouse, Chair of the EPUK Noise Committee said:

“During Noise Action Week we focus on encouraging everyone to take a quiet moment to think about noise they make and how it might affect others – whether socialising outdoors, doing DIY jobs or enjoying entertainment at home. This year we’re putting the spotlight on the local authority services that are essential in restoring the peace if noise gets out of hand. We are calling on government to commit sufficient resources to ensure the public health services crucial to managing healthy noise levels in our neighbourhoods are effective.”

Phil James, Chief Executive of CIEH5, said:

“We are excited to see this year’s Noise Action Week go ahead as noise has a profound impact on people’s health and obstructs wellbeing and quality of life.
In association with Noise Action Week, CIEH is launching its annual Noise Survey that provides the only data on the work environmental health professionals do to resolve noise complaints in England.

 It is important to call attention to the vital work that environmental health professionals do especially under the unprecedented conditions COVID-19 has created.”

 With 9 out of 10 environmental health teams saying they used agency staff last year because of shortages or recruitment delays, the report is highlighting an urgent need for more resources. In particular support for training to secure sufficient EHPs on the ground to maintain the standards in enforcing the regulations that protect our well being.

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Notes for editors

1. Noise Action Week – every year raises awareness of the impacts of disruptive and unhealthy noise, solutions to noise problems and the services that can help

2. Environmental Protection UK– is a national charity that provides expert policy analysis and information on air quality, land quality and noise and their effects on people and communities in terms of a wide range of issues including public health, planning, transport, energy and climate.

3. Environmental Health workforce survey report: local authorities in England, CIEH 2021
4. Increases in noise complaints during the COVID-19 lockdown in Spring 2020: A case study in Greater London, UK, University College London, April 2021

5. Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) The voice of environmental health since 1883. Protecting the public, supporting professionals and influencing policy.

6. The pandemic has put extra pressure on services, with around 8 out of 10 local authority EHPs redeployed to support the response to the pandemic – working with businesses on safe practice, managing local outbreaks, contact tracing and community support. At the same time working to maintain normal day to day services – which includes investigating complaints about neighbour noise

Noise Action Week – 24 – 29th May 2021 #NoiseActionWeek21
Working for healthy harmonious neighbourhoods

Noise Action Week is co ordinated by Environmental Protection UK

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