mainly caused by transport and industry - received strong support
during a three-month public consultation, urban quality of life
minister Alun Michael announced today.
He also launched a separate study into neighbour noise, an issue
highlighted by the majority of respondents to the consultation. The
study is the first step in developing a Neighbour Noise Strategy to
run in parallel with the Ambient Noise Strategy.
In a statement to parliament, Mr Michael said:
'There was very clear support for the government's proposals for the
development of an ambient noise strategy and I am pleased to confirm
that we are taking the next steps to develop the strategy. These
include: continuing the mapping already underway across England, the
establishment of an expert working group to address the effects of
noise and to establish cost-effective techniques to take action to
improve or preserve noise levels, as appropriate.
'A significant number of respondents indicated a need for a more
strategic approach to neighbour noise. I agree that there is a need
for a separate Neighbour Noise Strategy and as a first step towards
developing this, I am pleased to launch a study to examine neighbour
noise, both from the points of view of noise makers and their
'The research will generate appropriate and realistic options for
action to both raise awareness and influence behaviour and, with many
of the proposals identified during the consultation, should provide
us with a solid basis to also develop a more strategic approach to
the control of neighbourhood noise.'
Key findings of the 'Towards an National Ambient Noise Strategy'
- 89 per cent supported the government's approach to developing the
- 84 per cent supported more action to tackle neighbourhood noise.
- 'Annoyance,' including annoying noise, was considered a key
indicator of quality of life.
- Most believe more importance should be attached to noise as an
The government will now:
- Continue the countrywide project to map noise patterns.
- Establish methods which the government might use to assess the
impact of noise on people's quality of life. Special consideration
will be given to the identification and preservation of 'tranquil
- Identify potential techniques to either reduce background noise or,
where appropriate, to ensure noise levels do not increase.
- Investigate ways of providing a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of
As part of this stage, Mr Michael is due to launch the national noise
mapping project at the Greater London Authority's City Hall
headquarters today. The first project covers noise from road traffic
in Greater London.
The first stage of the study into Neighbour Noise Strategy involves:
- profiling the behaviours and attitudes of people who make
unacceptably loud noise and people whose quality of life is
affected by noise disturbance to identify how we can best address
- exploring and refining practical options used both in England and
other European countries to resolve noise complaints.
The strategy also involves changing people's attitudes to noise and
ENCAMS, the Environmental Campaigns charity which is part-funded by
DEFRA, has been enlisted to help tackle neighbour noise issues.
1. The three-month consultation exercise to help develop the
government's Ambient Noise Strategy was launched in December 2001,
and ended in March 2002.
DEFRA received 234 responses; a summary can be found at
2. The consultation followed the commitment in the Rural White Paper
to develop an ambient noise strategy, recognising the need to develop
an integrated and targeted approach to noise at local and national
3. Details of the government's three-phase approach to developing an
Ambient Noise Strategy are provided in news release 306/01 which can
be viewed here.
4. Ambient noise has already been addressed by a combination of
reducing noise generated by individual vehicles and aircraft, traffic
management schemes, and addressing noise at the planning stages of
new developments (planning authorities must have regard to the ODPM
planning guidance note, PPG 24 (Planning and Noise). Such action has
considerably reduced the output of noise from individual sources but
often failed to reduce the overall ambient noise because of other
factors, such as the increase in vehicles on our roads.
5. Neighbour noise is currently tackled by a combination of specific
legislation which provides local authorities with powers and duties
which enable them to deal with 'noisy neighbours.' These include
mediation and communication initiatives such as DEFRA's information
guide 'Bothered by Noise - there's no need to suffer.'
For more information view:
6. Doncaster MBC's innovative scheme to tackle noisy neighbours and
other nuisance noise won this year's John Connell Award, presented annually by the Noise Abatement Society.