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The Mayor's Ambient Noise Strategy

image of traffic, from cover of noise strategy

Noise is a problem for many Londoners. It can disrupt conversation or other activity, increase stress or disturb concentration, rest or sleep. Many see it as a key quality of life issue. The Mayor's strategy is part of a Europe-wide move towards more active management of what legislation calls 'ambient' or 'environmental noise' - long term noise, mainly from transport sources. Your local borough council can often help with individual local problems such as noisy neighbours, construction works, pubs and clubs, and other local nuisances. Protecting people's hearing in noisy workplaces is dealt with primarily by the Health and Safety Executive. The Mayor's strategy focuses on better management of transport systems, better town planning, and better design of buildings. Early priorities include lower noise road surfaces. Many other measures, and new funding, will be needed.

The final Ambient Noise Strategy 'Sounder City', a 'highlights' document and a leaflet are available for download free of charge.

The Mayor encourages quieter vehicles, including through a Hydrogen Partnership. Many of the policies in the Mayor's Transport Strategy, including encouragement to public transport, walking and cycling, and 'Streets for People', will bring about a quieter London. The London Plan contains an overall statement of planning policy on noise, while Sounder City sets out more detail.

Sound-conscious urban design

These factsheets illustrate a range of ways in which buildings and public spaces can be designed to improve city soundscapes. They include see-through walls which screen noise, water features masking noise in urban squares and parks, innovative paving which creates changing soundscapes for walkers, and designing an outdoor performance space to give high quality sound with less amplification. Visitors to these webpages are invited to send details of places which they consider exemplary, headed 'Sound-conscious urban design', to the Greater London Authority, at the address below.


The factsheets are available in PDF only.

  1. Broadgate, London - screening and vertical planting in urban square
  2. Cartier Foundation, Paris - building integrated screening
  3. Dudley Wood Road, W. Midlands - new development supporting noise reduction in wider area
  4. Freeway Park, Seattle - decking and enclosing development over noise source
  5. Hans Knudsens Plads, Copenhagen - photovoltaic panels integrated in glazing of housing
  6. High Cross Road, London - planted noise bund
  7. North Point Island Place, Hong Kong - landscaped roof garden
  8. Imperial Gate, Cardiff - leisure development
  9. Maidstone Exchange, Kent - self-protecting mixed use development
  10. Parc de Bercy, Paris - edge screening of open space
  11. Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester - edge screening of open space
  12. Roy Square, London - self-protecting development with active street front
  13. Schouwburgplein, Rotterdam - innovative paving in public square
  14. Thames Barrier Park, London - edge screening of open space, and water features
  15. Royal Docks School, London - noise protection with natural ventilation
  16. Pritzker Pavilion , Millennium Park, Chicago - distributed sound for outdoor concerts

All factsheets PDF (4.6MB - please note file may be slow to download because of its size)

Quiet Homes for London

Prepared for GLA by specialists Alan Whitfield, Janet Higgitt and Rick Groves, this report examines practical ways of securing improved home noise insulation and better access to quieter homes. Issues considered include incorporating internal noise insulation in the Decent Homes Standard; housing allocation policies, tenancy agreements and housing management; ways of providing temporary relief in the worst cases of intrusive noise; ways of using grant aid, equity release and other means of securing more resources to improve noise insulation; improving information on noise insulation, including costs, and possible labelling schemes; joining up policy on noise insulation with energy efficiency; and ensuring that the interests of residents are properly protected in licensing reform.

Quiet homes for London PDF
Quiet homes for London RTF

Technical reports

Effect of noise on physical health risk in London

The potential effects of noise on cardiovascular health have been studied for many years by independent experts. The first of these two commissioned studies, 'Report on Phase 1 - Review of the Topic' reviews recent evidence for such effects, including possible relationships between noise exposure and cardiovascular health (risk factors). The evidence suggests that links exist and that a relationship can be derived, which can be used for road traffic noise, and, provisionally, aircraft noise. The second document, 'Report on Phase 2 - Estimates of the Numbers of People at Risk,' applies this relationship to data on Londoners’ noise exposure.

The second report has been revised to correct an error in the version briefly available on this website in June 2008. That error meant that risks attributable to noise from Heathrow and London City airports had been substantially over-estimated.

Report on phase 1 – Review of the topic PDF
Report on phase 1 – Review of the topic RTF

Report on phase 2 – Estimates of the numbers of people at risk PDF
Report on phase 2 – Estimates of the numbers of people at risk RTF

Links to other sites

London Boroughs

Health and Safety Executive

Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

London Traffic Noise Map

Environmental Protection UK

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