Noise pollution: economic analysis – GOV.UK

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Overview

Noise can have an effect on health, well-being, productivity and the natural environment. The government’s noise policy is set out in the Noise Policy Statement for England.

The annual social cost of urban road noise in England is estimated to be £ 7-10 billion. This puts it on a scale similar to road accidents (£ 9bn) and significantly greater than the impact on climate change (£ 1-4bn). A report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2011 identified environmental noise as the second greatest environmental health risk in Western Europe.

It is important that the impacts on noise are fully taken into account in decision-making for any policy, program or project.

The approach to be used to assess the impacts of noise will depend on the decision taken. Economic valuation tools should be used for initial screening or decisions with low noise impact. A detailed analysis is required when the noise impacts can be substantial or have a significant effect on the decision.

Tools have been developed to convert changes in noise exposure into estimated monetary values, in order to support the assessment of the effects of environmental noise. The central estimates of road, rail and air exposure values ​​are presented in Tables 1 and 2. A range of sensitivities is available around these values ​​from the noise modeling tool.

The tables show an estimated value which corresponds to a change in the noise level. These values ​​may not be suitable if:

  • a decision is likely to have a substantial effect on noise
  • the change in noise levels will affect the outcome of a decision

In these cases, a more detailed assessment may be warranted.

Table 1: Total marginal values ​​of road, rail and air noise, £ per household per dB change, central values, 2014 prices

Change in noise metric per decibel (dBA)
(daytime noise metric)
Total route (including sleep disturbances) Total Rail (excluding sleep disorders) Total aircraft (excluding sleep disorders)
45.0 46.0 £ 11.28 £ 3.90 £ 15.61
46.0 47.0 £ 11.23 £ 3.95 £ 17.72
47.0 48.0 £ 11.31 £ 4.11 £ 19.82
48.0 49.0 £ 11.52 £ 4.40 £ 21.90
49.0 50.0 £ 18.41 £ 4.80 £ 23.96
50.0 51.0 £ 18.89 £ 12.46 £ 38.71
51.0 52.0 £ 19.49 £ 13.13 £ 40.80
52.0 53.0 £ 20.23 £ 13.91 £ 42.88
53.0 54.0 £ 21.09 £ 14.81 £ 44.94
54.0 55.0 £ 47.78 £ 15.84 £ 46.98
55.0 56.0 £ 51.22 £ 16.98 £ 49.01
56.0 57.0 £ 54.79 £ 18.24 £ 51.02
57.0 58.0 £ 58.49 £ 19.62 £ 53.02
58.0 59.0 £ 63.86 £ 22.68 £ 56.56
59.0 60.0 £ 69.33 £ 25.82 £ 60.05
60.0 61.0 £ 74.69 £ 28.85 £ 63.29
61.0 62.0 £ 80.21 £ 32.03 £ 66.54
62.0 63.0 £ 85.90 £ 35.37 £ 69.83
63.0 64.0 £ 91.75 £ 38.87 £ 73.14
64.0 65.0 £ 97.78 £ 42.53 £ 76.47
65.0 66.0 £ 103.96 £ 46.34 £ 79.82
66.0 67.0 £ 110.32 £ 50.32 £ 83.21
67.0 68.0 £ 116.85 £ 54.46 £ 86.61
68.0 69.0 £ 123.54 £ 58.76 £ 90.04
69.0 70.0 £ 130.39 £ 63.22 £ 93.50
70.0 71.0 £ 137.42 £ 67.83 £ 96.98
71.0 72.0 £ 144.61 £ 72.61 £ 100.48
72.0 73.0 £ 151.97 £ 77.54 £ 104.01
73.0 74.0 £ 159.49 £ 82.64 £ 107.57
74.0 75.0 £ 167.18 £ 87.89 £ 111.15
75.0 76.0 £ 175.04 £ 93.31 £ 114.75
76.0 77.0 £ 183.07 £ 95.22 £ 116.66
77.0 78.0 £ 188.93 £ 97.17 £ 118.62
78.0 79.0 £ 190.93 £ 99.16 £ 120.61
79.0 80.0 £ 192.96 £ 101.20 £ 122.64
80.0 81.0 £ 195.03 £ 103.27 £ 124.71

Remarks:

  1. There are no relationships available between the different noise indicators for railway noise and aircraft noise. If detailed data is not available for the indicator of specific interest, the results available for the daytime indicator can be used as an approximation for the other required indicator (e.g., assume Lden = LAeq, 16h). This type of approach cannot be used for nighttime noise.
  2. Sleep disorders were excluded for rail and airplanes, but included for road in the table. For routes where Lnight is not available, the day metric can be changed to Lnight. However, this relationship is not applicable for rail and airplane. Sleep disturbances are shown separately in Table 2 from Lnight.

Table 2: Sleep disturbances Night noise marginal values ​​£ per household per change in dB, central values, 2014 prices

Modification of the noise metric Lnight per decibel dB (A) Road Rail Airplane
45 46 £ 29.20 £ 13.59 £ 37.93
46 47 £ 32.07 £ 15.06 £ 40.79
47 48 £ 34.94 £ 16.52 £ 43.65
48 49 £ 37.81 £ 17.99 £ 46.52
49 50 £ 40.68 £ 19.46 £ 49.38
50 51 £ 43.55 £ 20.92 £ 52.24
51 52 £ 46.42 £ 22.39 £ 55.11
52 53 £ 49.29 £ 23.86 £ 57.97
53 54 £ 52.17 £ 25.32 £ 60.83
54 55 £ 55.04 £ 26.79 £ 63.70
55 56 £ 57.91 £ 28.25 £ 66.56
56 57 £ 60.78 £ 29.72 £ 69.42
57 58 £ 63.65 £ 31.19 £ 72.29
58 59 £ 66.52 £ 32.65 £ 75.15
59 60 £ 69.39 £ 34.12 £ 78.01
60 61 £ 72.26 £ 35.59 £ 80.88
61 62 £ 75.13 £ 37.05 £ 83.74
62 63 £ 78.00 £ 38.52 £ 86.60
63 64 £ 80.88 £ 39.99 £ 89.47
64 65 £ 83.75 £ 41.45 £ 92.33
65 66 £ 86.62 £ 42.92 £ 95.19
66 67 £ 86.62 £ 42.92 £ 95.19
67 68 £ 86.62 £ 42.92 £ 95.19
68 69 £ 86.62 £ 42.92 £ 95.19
69 70 £ 86.62 £ 42.92 £ 95.19
70 71 £ 86.62 £ 42.92 £ 95.19
71 72 £ 86.62 £ 42.92 £ 95.19
72 73 £ 86.62 £ 42.92 £ 95.19
73 74 £ 86.62 £ 42.92 £ 95.19
74 75 £ 86.62 £ 42.92 £ 95.19
75 76 £ 86.62 £ 42.92 £ 95.19
76 77 £ 86.62 £ 42.92 £ 95.19
77 78 £ 86.62 £ 42.92 £ 95.19
78 79 £ 86.62 £ 42.92 £ 95.19
79 80 £ 86.62 £ 42.92 £ 95.19
80 81 £ 86.62 £ 42.92 £ 95.19

Detailed assessment of noise impacts

Where the effect of noise is likely to be substantial or to be a deciding factor for a proposal, a detailed assessment may be warranted. The scale of the assessment depends on the characteristics of the decision. It is therefore not possible to propose a specific method that can be used in all situations.

To discuss the best approach to assess noise impacts, it is recommended to contact IGCB@ defra.gov.uk. To inform these discussions, please have the following information available:

  • Context of the decision taken
  • an overview of the proposal and the different options being evaluated
  • the indicative noise assessment carried out
  • the moment of analysis to inform the decision
  • quantitative estimates of other impacts of the decision

The appropriate proof will depend on a series of factors. The potential areas to be considered can be broadly divided into 4 groups:

  1. Accommodation – the conscious dissatisfaction of those exposed to noise. Currently, 2 accreditation impacts can be quantified and assessed; sleep disturbances and discomfort.
  2. Health – noise is associated with a series of health effects. The 3 health effects currently being assessed are heart attacks, strokes, and dementia.
  3. Productivity – Due to distraction, fatigue, and disruption of communications, noise can negatively impact productivity. It is not yet possible to assess and value these impacts.
  4. Environment – noise can have a significant impact on the natural environment, for example noise can alter bird reproduction patterns, disturb wildlife and damage sensitive ecosystems. For the moment, these impacts have not been assessed.

The effects of nighttime noise, academic achievement, and other factors such as the value of quiet areas have not been fully quantified. These cannot be included in a full assessment, but it may be important to include them in future research.

Publications

This Transportation noise modeling tool (MS Excel spreadsheet, 6.28 MB) calculates the marginal costs associated with increases in transport noise (road, rail, air) above benchmarks for:

  • sleep disorder
  • contrariety
  • Acute myocardial infarction (AMI commonly called a heart attack)
  • hypertension

A Open Document Format Transport Noise Modeling Tool (SACO, 1.9 MB) version is also available.

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