UK catches up on urban noise mapping

Government follows EU partners with first city noise map, claims data is the most "complete" yet

UK environment minister Michael Meacher today launched the country's first ever noise map of a major city, intended to anticipate an EU directive expected to be formally proposed by the European Commission later this year. This is expected to require noise mapping and reduction plans in cities over 250,000 inhabitants initially, extending to urban areas more than 50,000 inhabitants later (ENDS Daily 27 September 1999).

Prepared over two years for England's second city, the Birmingham noise map follows similar initiatives taken in other EU cities, especially in Germany, but was described by the environment ministry as the "most complete" to be compiled to date.

Mr Meacher said the Birmingham data was a first step towards creating a national noise map. He noted that a forthcoming national urban policy paper would also work on improving quality of life in cities. According to the 1996 EU green paper on noise pollution, up to 12m people in the UK suffer from unacceptable levels of noise pollution.

The Birmingham map comprises colour coded elements showing road, rail and aircraft noise throughout the city. The exercise has shown that it is technically feasible for local authorities throughout the UK to produce similar "state of the art" noise maps in future.

Follow Up:
UK environment ministry, tel: +44 20 79 44 30 00, and press release.

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