Skip to main content

Noise: Motorways

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people reside within the 75 decibel noise contour of (a) the M3 between Winchester and its junction with the M27 and (b) the M27 between its junction with the M3 and the Hamble Bridge. (297374)

Based on population exposure statistics, rounded to the nearest 100 people, it is estimated, using noise mapping results and population location information produced from the 2005 DEFRA Noise Mapping England Major Roads project that:

(a) there are 600 people who are exposed to 75 dB (LA10,18h) or above, generated by road traffic noise living in the vicinity of the M3, between Winchester (Junction 9) and its junction with the M27 (Junction 14).

(b) there are 100 people who are exposed to 75 dB (LA10,18h) or above, generated by road traffic noise living in the vicinity of the M27, between its junction with the M3 (Junction 4) to the Hamble Bridge (between Junction 8 and Junction 9).

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will estimate the number of people resident within the 75-decibel contour of each motorway in England; and if he will assess the effects on such residents of exposure to such levels of noise. (297375)

We do not have the specific data in the format requested. However, the Environmental Noise Directive (END-2002/49/EC) requires member states to produce noise maps. The END requires us to undertake an exposure assessment separately for major roads1 with over 6 million vehicle passages per year, and road traffic noise sources in agglomerations.2 Results of the noise mapping and exposure assessment are publicly available at:

http://services.defra.gov.uk/wps/portal/noise

The results of the mapping and exposure assessment are currently being used to support the development of Noise Action Plans, which are required to be produced under the END, drafts of which are currently undergoing public consultation until 4 November 2009, and are available at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/noise-action-plan/index.htm

In accordance with the END, exposure assessments have been undertaken for major roads.1 The results for locations outside agglomerations are summarised in section 4 of the draft Noise Action Plan for Major Roads (outside first round agglomerations), which is available at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/noise-action-plan/roads.pdf

Table 4.5, page 10, of that document states that there are estimated to be 72,000 people in England, who are exposed to a noise level greater than or equal to 75 dB (LA10,18h), generated by road traffic noise from major roads.1

Additionally, in accordance with the END, exposure assessments have been undertaken for all mapped road traffic noise sources inside agglomerations. Results for agglomerations are summarised in section 4 of the draft supporting data document for agglomerations which is available at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/noise-action-plan/agglom-supporting-data.pdf

Tables B1.3 to X1.3 of that document indicates that there are estimated to be 133,000 people in England, who are exposed to a noise level greater than or equal to 75 dB (LA10,18h), generated by road traffic noise within agglomerations.

DEFRA does not hold data on the assessment of the effects of exposure to such levels of noise from such sources. However, reports3 have been published this year, which consider the links between transportation noise and health effects and these noted that further research is required to validate the key findings, and that any future research development in this field should be monitored.

1 Major roads are as described in Regulation 3(7) of the Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006 (as amended):

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2006/20062238.htm

2 Agglomerations (First Round) are areas having a population in excess of 250,000 persons and a population density equal to or greater than 500 people per km2 and which the DEFRA Secretary of State considers to be urbanised.

3 Environmental Noise and Health in the UK (2009):

http://www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAwebFile/HPA\web_C/1246433634856

Estimating Dose-Response Relationships Between Noise Exposure and Human Health in the UK:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/quality/noise/igcb/publications/healthreport.htm