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Year : 2003  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 18  |  Page : 39--41

Ambient noise strategy : A solution for noise control?

1 Air and Environment Quality Division, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, London, United Kingdom
2 Integrated Transport Economics & Appraisal, Department for Transport, London, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
M Joseph
Air & Environment Quality Division, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Zone 4/G16 Ashdown House, 123 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6DE
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 12631435

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The British Government earlier this year undertook a consultation on its proposal, announced in the Rural White Paper, to develop an Ambient Noise Strategy in England. The proposals envisage a three phase approach: In phase 1 we would aim to establish three key sets of information: • information on the ambient noise climate in the country - i.e. the number of people affected by different levels of noise, the source of that noise (road, rail, airports and industry) and the location of the people affected, by producing noise maps of the main sources of noise; •methods which the Government might use to assess the effects of noise - particularly regarding people's quality of life and tranquillity; • the techniques available to take action to improve the situation where bad or preserve it where good. In phase 2 we would aim to evaluate and identify options for prioritising the various alternatives from phase 1 in terms not only of costs and benefits but also time-scales and synergies and conflicts with other Government priorities including economic and social issues. An optimal policy reduces noise at lowest net cost, whilst capturing as many synergistic benefits, and minimising any potentially adverse impacts. Decision makers need to ensure that the impacts of the noise policies do not cost society more than the benefits expected. A recent study undertaken by the Government, looked at how a cost-benefit type framework could be used, with noise maps, to help inform such decisions. Finally, in phase 3, the Government would need to agree on the necessary policies to move towards the desired outcome - i.e. the National Ambient Noise Strategy itself. The results of the consultation are expected to be published later this year.


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