Noise wakes up Lords to call for regulation of “neglected health hazard”



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A House of Lords committee has called for the setting up of an expert advisory group to quantify the aggregate health burden of noise pollution, a likely outcome being the establishment of targets and a framework for regulation to reduce the overall burden of disease from noise.

A similar advisory group already exists for air pollution, and the move towards regulating noise which, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) causes the loss of 130,000 healthy years of life every year, is accompanied by calls to assess the health effects of light pollution.

These twin pollutants have been the focus of the House of Lords science and technology committee, whose chair, Lady King, identifies both as causing “annoyance, impacting quality of life, but through the disruption of sleep and circadian rhythms, both noise and light pollution can contribute to heart disease and premature death.”

“We are concerned that there are no specific targets for regulating light and noise pollution, and a lack of coordination between departments, and between central and local government, which is preventing the government from tackling these problems,” added King.

The science committee wants the government to receive independent advice on emerging evidence of the hazards of noise - in particular, traffic sound - and light. Recent research suggests exposure to artificial light at night can impair glucose and cardiovascular regulation and potentially increase the risk of heart disease or diabetes.

Source: The Guardian