City noise annoys most but does it really comfort some Londoners?


noise pollution

© georgeclerk - iStock     Traffic on the M8 motorway rushing through central Glasgow.

While the English capital calls for a drop in noise levels, and Scotland’s largest city shows its main motorway is as loud as an airport runway, the Belgian city of Genk has brought in a major tech company to apply artificial intelligence (AI) to solve its sound pollution problems.

Teaming up with Nokia to use the latter’s Scene Analytics technology is helping Genk to quantify noise produced on a main commercial street. Microphones, cameras, and sensors feed back data that city authorities can put alongside observations and complaints from citizens to fully inform decision making.

The Scottish Government, meanwhile, has produced a noise map showing that the M8 motorway in Glasgow produces average noise levels comparable to the city’s airport runway during take-off and landings.

Londoners irritated

Down in London, research published by the Policy Exchange think tank reports that noise “bothers” nine out of ten city inhabitants. Emergency sirens were deemed the most irksome, with 54% of those surveyed saying they find them annoying. The report calls for quieter sirens to be trialled.

Cities experienced a huge drop in noise levels during the pandemic, yet the report - Turning Down the Volume: Tackling Noise Pollution in the Capital - details that 24% of those surveyed would like noise to return to pre-pandemic levels! It’s not a small minority, but certainly a curious result from the survey. Are there really that many people in London who would say: “naaah, I like a bit o’ noise; turn it up mate!” Perhaps good news for the capital’s hearing practices.

Source: Evening Standard;Glasgow Live; Smart Cities World