The UK’s 10 Noisiest Cities: Could Acoustic Insulation Make A Difference?
Noise pollution is a growing problem across the UK and Europe. Exposure to noise pollution can impact your ability to sleep, which could result in health problems that people may not be aware of.
The U Value team set out to explore which cities are the noisiest in the UK, looking at data from the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on road noise, railway noise, and industrial sounds, in order to find the places where the largest percentage of the population live with decibel noise that is regularly over 55 decibels (db) - read on to find out whether your city is on the list.
What Is Noise Pollution?
Noise pollution is sometimes also referred to as sound pollution. It’s a term used to describe the impact of loud noises on their surrounding environment. These could be noises caused by traffic, aircraft, industry, or crowds, all of which can have an impact on the people who live nearby.
According to the European Environment Agency, prolonged exposure to noise can cause a range of health problems, including annoyance, sleep disturbance, and metabolic effects. There is even some evidence to suggest that long-term exposure to noise can result in cardiovascular and cognitive issues.
Causes Of Noise Pollution
Noise pollution can be caused by a variety of factors, from transport to human noise created by events. For example, excess noise may be a result of:
- Road traffic
- Noise from passing trains
- Noise caused by planes taking off, landing, or flying overhead
- Industrial noise
- Crowds leaving events, such as concerts, festivals, or sporting events
Where Are The UK’s Noisiest Cities And Towns?
Following analysis of DEFRA data, U Value found that Slough was the UK’s noisiest location, with more than half (60%) living in areas that regularly reach 55db.
Warrington came in second on the list, with almost half (49%) of its population affected by noise pollution, followed by Southampton in third place with 44% of residents affected.
Crawley and Preston came in fourth and fifth on the list with 43% of their residents impacted by noise pollution, with High Wycombe ranked sixth with 39% of its population regularly exposed to at least 55db.
In seventh place was St Albans and Hatfield, where 39% of the population was affected by noise pollution, while 38% of residents in both Wigan and Greater Manchester as a whole were also impacted. Doncaster completed the list in tenth place, with 37% of residents living with noise pollution.
The U Value team also looked at the areas of the UK where residents are regularly exposed to noise of 70 decibels or higher, with Greater London coming top of the list, with 7.5% of the capital’s population falling into this category.
This was followed by Slough (5.1%), Wigan (4.4%), Hastings (4.4%), Greater Manchester (4.3%), Bristol (4%), and High Wybcombe (3.9%). Torbay in Devon came in eighth place with 3.9% of its population affected by noise pollution of 70db or higher, followed by Southampton (3.8%), and Oxford, which completed the top ten with 3.7% of residents impacted.
How To Combat Noise Pollution
If you live in one of these areas or simply struggle to sleep at night due to noise, there are steps you can take to block out sound to get a better night’s sleep, including identifying where sound is entering a room from, and investing in acoustic insulation.
Identify Where Sound Is Coming In
To be able to block out noise pollution effectively, it’s important to identify where sound may be coming in from. Consider:
- Is it coming from noisy neighbours?
- Is the issue an internal noise coming in between rooms, such as a TV downstairs that you can hear even though all doors are closed?
- Can you hear traffic noise from outside?
- Are there other external noises, such as neighbours’ dogs barking, car alarms going off regularly, or building works nearby?
- Is the noise coming through just one wall, or from an apartment above or below?
Identifying exactly where noise pollution is coming from is the first step to tackling the problem, so you can take action to reduce the problem.
To help combat noise pollution, close all windows at night, as well as any doors that may be letting sound in. You should also consider rearranging the furniture in your home to place heavier items of furniture such as wardrobes and bookcases against walls that are leaking the most sound. This could help you to block out noise for a better night’s sleep.
How Acoustic Insulation Can Help
Investing in acoustic insulation for your home could also help you to block out noise pollution and subsequently sleep better at night. Acoustic insulation is perfect for soundproofing and can be installed in the walls and ceiling, to significantly reduce the amount of noise coming into your home, in a similar way to how double-glazed windows and solid doors can also block out sound.
To further block out noise pollution, you should also try to fix any cracks in your walls and make sure that there is a good seal around all your doors and windows.
Want To Know More About Acoustic Insulation?
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