Maps highlight noisy neighbourhoods

Ever wondered how much noise the traffic, railways and businesses near your home or workplace are creating?

Well if you live in London, Southampton or 21 other urban areas in England, you will now be able to access detailed noise maps of the area where you live or work at the click of a mouse.

A new Defra website is providing maps that can be searched by postcode to show the level of environmental noise from major industries, road and rail networks over an average 24-hour period.

Ministers said the information will be used to draw up action plans to reduce unreasonable levels of noise, including measures to protect designated quiet areas.

Launching the noise maps, Environment Minister Jonathan Shaw said: "Factors like transport and industry are a necessary part of modern life.

"But we need to look at what further practical steps we can take to make people's lives more tranquil.

"These maps provide the most comprehensive snapshot yet of noise in our country, all at the click of a mouse.

"They will provide a spring board to go forward and tackle unnecessary and unreasonable noise pollution."

The areas covered are:

  • Birkenhead
  • Blackpool
  • Bournemouth
  • Brighton
  • Bristol
  • Coventry
  • Hull
  • Leicester
  • Liverpool
  • London
  • Manchester
  • Nottingham
  • Portsmouth
  • Preston
  • Reading
  • Sheffield
  • Southampton
  • Southend
  • Teeside
  • The Potteries
  • Tyneside
  • West Midlands
  • West Yorkshire

    Charity Environmental Protection UK said the maps were an important step in reducing noise pollution.

    "The research findings highlight the urgent need for strategic noise management across the country," said Mary Stevens, noise policy officer.

    "Publication of the noise maps for England is the first step towards active management of noise from transport and industrial noise in our urban areas, and minimising the impacts of this noise on our quality of life and our health."

    The mapping was carried out during 2006-07 to comply with EU legislation and incorporates noise maps produced for English airports that were published last December.

    The maps can be found here.

    Kate Martin

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    | noise pollution


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