Is the issue of noise pollution getting louder?

Posted On: 
27th September 2018

ROCKWOOL UK is supporting the John Connell Awards, which is the only scheme to recognise local authorities, businesses, individuals and organisations that have made outstanding efforts to reduce the impact of unwanted noise and pioneer solutions to reduce noise pollution. 

Credit: 
PA

There is a growing understanding that noise has a negative impact of on people’s health, wellbeing and productivity. The World Health Organisation study that at least one million healthy life-years are lost every year in western Europe due to environmental noise, is oft cited. The Noise Abatement Society have been raising awareness of noise pollution for over fifty years. And yet, we don’t see it capture the same attention as other environmental issues, like air pollution or plastic waste. 

Could that be about to change? This year the Chief Medical Officer put noise second to air quality in terms of the impact to public health by a single pollutant. The public and political debates surrounding Heathrow’s third runway focussed heavily on the impact of the additional noise. And, in two weeks WHO will release new targets on community noise considering new evidence on the health effects of environmental noise. 

At ROCKWOOL UK, we are specialists in mitigating the impact of noise through good design in the built environment. The choice of material in a building, for example, can make a significant difference to the experience of noise from internal and external sources. 

We’ve seen interventions this year that suggest there is an appetite to address the impact of noise through better design and building practices. The Welsh Government have embedded soundscape in their draft planning policy, placing onus on developers to find solutions to address noise. Protecting and improving the acoustic environment through good design is a key pillar of the Mayor of London’s Environment Strategy. 

With the growing awareness of the impact of noise pollution, these examples are hopefully just the beginning of the ambition to better consider noise in our homes, workplaces, hospitals and school, and deliver improved health and wellbeing through the quality of our buildings. 

Next month ROCKWOOL UK is supporting the John Connell Awards, organised by the Noise Abatement Society (NAS). Held at the Palace of Westminster, the John Connell Awards are the only scheme to recognise local authorities, businesses, individuals and organisations that have made outstanding efforts to reduce the impact of unwanted noise and pioneer solutions to noise pollution.