Noise: Pollution

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 16th March 2020.

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Photo of Lord Bassam of Brighton Lord Bassam of Brighton Shadow Spokesperson (Further & Higher Education)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the case for gathering information on noise complaints in England, and (2) the health impacts of noise in England.

Photo of Lord Bassam of Brighton Lord Bassam of Brighton Shadow Spokesperson (Further & Higher Education)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number noise complaints received by local authorities in England in each year since 2015.

Photo of Lord Bassam of Brighton Lord Bassam of Brighton Shadow Spokesperson (Further & Higher Education)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures are in place to (1) monitor, and (2) track, changes in (a) the amount of, and (b) the types of, noise complaints received by local authorities in England since 2015.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for International Development, The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health surveys local authorities to monitor and track changes in the amount of noise complaints received under statutory nuisance legislation. Their most recent survey report is available at https://www.cieh.org/policy/campaigns/noise-survey/, and includes some data on types of noise complaints. Given the existence of these surveys, the Government has not made a recent assessment of the case for gathering data on noise complaints. The data from these surveys feeds into Public Health England’s Public Health Outcomes Framework, published on GOV.UK, which includes three indicators related to the health impacts of noise in England. These are: the rate of complaints about noise; the percentage of the population exposed to high levels of road, rail and air transport noise during the daytime; and the percentage of the population exposed to high levels of road, rail and air transport noise during the night-time. More information and data, including trends, is available at https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/public-health-outcomes-framework.

The Government estimates that the annual social cost of urban road noise in England is in the region of £7 to 10 billion. In 2019 we convened the Interdepartmental Group on Costs and Benefits (Noise Subject Group) to assess the latest evidence for valuing noise impacts in England, including impacts on health. This expert Group has commissioned evidence reviews relating to potential health outcomes from exposure to noise from a range of sources, and the outputs of these reviews will be taken into account in considering whether any updates to relevant Government guidance are required.

Reports published to date can be found at the following sites: http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&ProjectID=20395&FromSearch=Y&Publisher=1&SearchText=cardiovascular&SortString=ProjectCode&SortOrder=Asc&Paging=10#Description; and http://sciencesearch.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&ProjectID=20398&FromSearch=Y&Publisher=1&SearchText=specific%20health&SortString=ProjectCode&SortOrder=Asc&Paging=10#Description.

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