Noise map will pinpoint traffic hotspots

The noisiest boroughs in London have been pinpointed by the Government in a new initiative to cut back noise pollution from traffic.

Offering the first ever “noise map” of the capital, the Road Traffic Noise Map is the first move towards plotting out the noise pollution from roads, railways, aircraft and industrial premises all around the UK.

Boroughs with the highest levels of traffic noise pollution included Hounslow, Barnet, Westminster and Enfield, all of which have busy main roads running through them. Sutton and Hammersmith were identified as the quietest parts of London.

According to the Government, the noise map will help local authorities and planners control noise pollution more effectively and reduce the number of people that must put up with living in noisy neighbourhoods.

Tackling noise was a priority for the Government, according to Environment Minister Lord Whitty. “Noise is a universal problem which has affected most of us at some time in our lives. The London Road Traffic Noise Map is the first big step in our project to map the whole of England, which will help us to see where we need to take measures to reduce noise and target problem areas,” he said.

But noise pollution in some areas was unavoidable, a spokesman from Westminster City Council told edie. He said that there would always be a high volume of traffic in the borough.

“There’s not really much we can do about it. We can deal with car alarms and noisy neighbours, but we can’t control the traffic and don’t want to be seen as an empty-car authority,” he said. “The only way to tackle this problem would be to improve public transport so less people use their cars. But Westminster will always have more traffic noise than most other parts of London.”

The noise map will cost the Government around £500,000 to produce.

By Jane Kettle

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