Ensuring the health impacts of noise are considered in national policy decisions

In England and Wales, the CIEH Noise Survey provides the only source of information on the vital contribution made by environmental health professionals working to resolve noise complaints.

2020/21 Noise Survey

The 2020/21 England Noise Survey report has been published. 144 local authorities responded to the survey, accounting for 45% of local authorities in England.

CIEH Noise Survey 2020/21: Report on findings - EnglandThe report found that the number of noise complaints increased by 54% between 2019/20 and 2020/21 in 89 local authorities, which participated in both years.

Key findings:

  • A total of 356,367 noise complaints were recorded by 144 local authorities, on average 149 complaints for every 10,000 people
  • 11,211 formal actions were taken by responding local authorities
  • There were 88 noise-related prosecutions
  • The average number of complaints per Full Time Equivalent Professional increased from 299 to 633
  • There are 563 FTEs working at 144 local authorities to investigate and resolve noise complaints, on average 3.9 FTE per local authority

This year's report is supported by Cirrus Research. Established in 1970, Cirrus Research is a globally recognised name in scientific noise measurement equipment, serving health and safety and environmental health professionals in all parts of the world.

Noise changes lives, and Cirrus Research's priority is to make monitoring, measuring, and controlling excessive noise levels as straightforward as possible, whilst ensuring that the most effective decisions are taken to protect people and the environment from the risks noise presents. Cirrus Research has a long-standing relationship with local government environmental health officers, housing associations and independent acoustic consultants, and actively contributes to the successful resolution of noise nuisance complaints by supporting EHOs with market-leading instrumentation that provides in-depth data and analysis.

Noise survey 2020/21 report - England

2020/21 Wales Noise Survey

The 2020/21 Wales Noise Survey is now open. This survey will provide some insight into the impact of the lifestyle changes that COVID-19 has had on the number of noise complaints reported to local authorities and enforcement activity relating to noise.

For any queries relating to the Wales Noise Survey, please email [email protected].

2020/21 Wales Noise Survey

An archive of all Noise Survey reports is accessible below.

Why is it so important?

Our noise survey provides the only source of regular national information on the important contribution made by EHPs working to resolve noise complaints.

Our survey results were referenced in the 2017 Chief Medical Officer annual report to emphasise that "environmental noise comes second in burden of disease to air pollution and arguably is responsible for more disturbance of quality of life". Noise is the single largest issue of complaint made to local authorities in the UK and over 80% of people report being exposed to noise pollution in their homes.

Past survey results

England

We collected data from 117 local authorities in England.

CIEH Noise Survey 2019/20: Report on findings - EnglandThe report covers:

  • The total number of noise complaints received
  • The total number of notices served
  • Other formal actions taken by local authorities
  • Staffing levels for noise-related work
  • The number of prosecutions
  • Breakdowns of noise complaints by sector
  • Breakdowns of data by region

CIEH noise survey 2019/20 - England

Wales

CIEH Noise Survey 2019/20: Report on findings - England Responses to the survey were received from all local authorities in Wales.

Key findings:

  • Noise complaints 10% up on previous year ranging from 10 per 10,000 population in Anglesey to 177 per 10,000 population in Swansea
  • 323 notices served (by 20 local authorities) under the Environmental Protection Act to deal with noise amounting to a statutory nuisance
  • Formal action taken under other legislation to deal with noise in 22 cases (by five local authorities)
  • Five simple cautions issued
  • There were 34 noise-related prosecutions (eight local authorities)
  • All but two local authorities reported that they were using the Noise App
  • All but one local authority were using Matron monitoring equipment to assist with noise investigations
  • Eleven out of 22 local authorities have arrangements in place to respond to noise complaints out of office hours

CIEH noise survey 2019/20 - Wales

CIEH Noise Survey 2018/19: Report on findings - EnglandEngland

We collected data from 143 local authorities in England.

The report covers the same areas as the new 2019/20 report excluding other formal actions taken by Local Authorities.

CIEH noise survey 2018/19 - England

Wales

CIEH Noise Survey 2018/19: Report on findings - WalesAll 22 local authorities in Wales responded to the survey, which is a response rate of 100%.

In total 18,567 noise complaints were recorded, which works out as 59 complaints for every 10,000 members of population. Noise from residential premises accounts for the largest proportion of noise complaints, while industrial noise accounts for the lowest proportion of noise complaints compared to other sectors.

CIEH noise survey 2018/19 – Wales

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affair’s (DAERA) Air and Environmental Quality Unity (AEQ) conduct an annual report on complaints received by the district councils.

Noise complaint statistics for Northern Ireland 2017/2018

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