New Reports Say Noise is Harming our Health

6.7.2009   (Environmental Protection press release)

Environmental Protection UK support call for expert group on noise and health.

Two new reports published today (6 July 2009) assessing our state of knowledge
on noise and health make it clear that many people are affected, some seriously,
by exposure to environmental (mainly traffic) noise. Environmental Protection
UK1 welcome this long awaited publication from an ad hoc expert group co-ordinated
by the Health Protection Agency.2     With Defra preparing to consult the public on noise action plans for England3, sound information on the effects of noise is needed now.

To reinforce the need, Defra4 commissioned research, also published today, finds clear links between noise
exposure and annoyance; cardiovascular effects; sleep disturbance; learning and
hearing impairment.

While both reports acknowledge that current noise levels can affect our health,
they also establish that more knowledge is needed on noise impacts to contribute
to well informed decision making, as plans are drawn up to comply with the European
requirement to reduce, manage or prevent harmful noise exposure.

“Environmental Protection UK have long advocated the need for an expert advisory
body on noise. We are in full support of the recommendation of the ad hoc expert
group, that a programme of research into the effects of environmental noise in
the UK be established” said Philip Mulligan, Chief Executive.   “With 10% of the
UK population exposed to daytime noise above 65dB5, an Expert Advisory Committee on Environmental Noise and Health is urgently
needed if we are to have an informed noise action planning process.   Air Quality
Management is underpinned by advice form the Committee on the Medical Effects
of Air Pollution – it is about time the impacts of noise on health are seriously


More: Mary Stevens, Policy Officer 01273 878781 / 07730 061850


Notes  for Editors:

  1. Environmental Protection UK is the environmental protection charity supported by pollution control professionals.
     We have been working for a cleaner, quieter, healthier world since 1898.
  2. Draft report Environmental Noise and Health in the UKHealth Protection Agency
  3. Under the Environmental Noise Directive 2002/49/EC (END) noise action plans must
    be developed to manage the effects of noise from transport, road traffic, rail
    traffic, air traffic and from sites of industrial activity and to reduce it if
    necessary, which will avoid, prevent or reduce harmful effects of exposure on
    Noise maps for England.
  4. Estimating Dose Response Relationships between noise exposure and Human Health
    in the UK
  5. The   WHO World Health Organisation Guidelines for Community Noise recommend levels should not exceed 55 dB LEQ in outdoor living areas to avoid
    the onset of annoyance.


link to press release