Turn it down to Tackle Unhealthy Noise

We’ve all been affected by annoying and unhealthy noise – from neighbours, transport, pets and even others in our own homes. Noise Action Week 2018 gives local councils, housing providers and acoustics professionals the opportunity to promote solutions to noise problems that impact on our health

Noise pollution is:

  • recognised by the Chief Medical Officer in England as second only to air pollution in damaging public health.
  • the pollutant that has the greatest impact on our quality of life.
  • affecting 80% of people who are exposed to noise pollution at home
  • disturbing the sleep of 46% of people who are woken at least once a week by noise outside their home – alarms, traffic noise, anti social behaviour and other people’s pets

Managing noise complaints can cost councils £130 – £7k per complaint, in addition to the cost it has to our health in terms of lost sleep and reduced performance at work or study. Music and TV were the noises most complained about to councils in 2016 – so the solution can be as simple as turning it down.

On publishing recent research into the health effects of noise pollution The Chief Medical Officer said: “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. There is an increasing body of knowledge on the impact of noise on our health, and everyone can contribute to reducing the impacts of noise on those around them. This week we urge everyone to turn it down to tackle noise pollution.”

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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. 2017 UK Noise Nuisance Study – Love my vouchers
  5. Acoustic research for Everest 2018 –
  6. Estimating the cost of complaints about noise nuisance, Defra 2012
  7. 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, University at Weston and the Bristol Gloucestershire, Somerset & Wiltshire Environmental Protection Group.



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