The Association of Noise Consultants (ANC) has called for a more consistent approach to acoustics to protect society from the impact of excess noise
A new White Paper, Building Our Future: Laying the Foundations for Healthy Homes and Buildings, reveals that almost 40% of the UK population is subjected to noise pollution, with a knock-on effect on public health.
The Association of Noise Consultants (ANC) says a greater awareness of how to build good acoustic design in homes and buildings from industry, is needed to address the trend.
The White Paper, produced by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Healthy Homes and Buildings, reports that 37% of the population suffers from noise pollution and believe the knock-on effects can cause long-term health issues.
The after-effect of noise pollution is said to increase levels of stress hormones, therefore increasing the risk of cardiovascular effects such as heart disease and hypertension.
Thw white paper also details a number of other exacerbating issues, including the fact that most people spend 90% of their time indoors and that many modern homes and buildings are located in urban and brownfield sites affected by significant levels of noise.
Dan Saunders, Chair of the ANC, said: “The White Paper sets out a clear link between good acoustics and public health in the built environment.
“It calls on the Government to adopt a holistic approach to address the situation to ensure that future renovation of homes and buildings improves other elements vital for health and wellbeing in a number of areas, including acoustics.
“We would strongly support that message. Ultimately, there needs to be greater consideration and consistency given to acoustics in the built environment at an early stage of a project’s development to ensure a better outcome.”
The ANC points to the Professional Practice Guidance (ProPG) – referenced in the White Paper – as a key resource to help address the issue.
Launched in 2017 by a consortium of the ANC, along with the Institute of Acoustics, and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the ProPG complements the UK Government’s National Planning Policy Framework and Guidance to provide practitioners with an industry-recommended approach for new residential developments.
It outlines what should be taken into account when deciding planning applications for new noise-sensitive developments, improves understanding of how to determine the extent of potential noise impacts and effects, and assists the delivery of sustainable development.
Mr Saunders added: “We’d urge the industry and regulators to get up to speed with the ProPG and understand how it can address the issues raised in the White Paper.
“Over recent years, we have seen the introduction of the Noise Policy Statement for England, as well as substantial changes in national planning policy, but these developments have not been accompanied by detailed technical acoustic advice.
“This lack of guidance can lead to inconsistent application of policy, and that may in turn result in unsatisfactory development and affect quality of life.
“ProPG has been developed to fill that gap and facilitate efficient and consistent decision-making in the development control process.”