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Photo credit: (Mick Baker)rooster

By Arline Bronzaft, PhD, Founding Member, The Quiet Coalition

In their recently released ebook (pdf) “The Noise Climate–Post Brexit,” John Stewart, Nigel Rodgers, Henry Thoresby, Val Weedon, and Francis McManus explain how the United Kingdom (UK) can respond to noise after Brexit in a way that leads to a reduction in noise pollution. It should be noted that John Stewart and three of his colleagues on this ebook also contributed to the book “Why Noise Matters” (Earthscan, 2011), and that I was a co-author of that book. “Why Noise Matters” examined the adverse impacts of noise on mental and physical health. It questioned why government policies worldwide were not implemented to lessen noise when there was strong evidence supporting the noise/health link and noise abatement solutions were available. Thus, the authors of “the Noise Climate-Post Brexit are very well versed on the hazards of noise, and they have spent years exploring strategies to lessen the din.

In this follow-up book, John Stewart and his co-authors again state the ways that noise can be abated, but with greater specificity and without reiterating the obvious–the hazardous impacts of noise on health. They explain in their Introduction that even though the European Union (EU) took some steps to identify sources of noise (mainly by asking its members to periodically assess the noise levels in their respective countries), it did not take the next essential step–outlining ways to alleviate the noise. This is analogous to a doctor assessing the symptoms of a disease but not offering remedies to treat it. Additionally, the authors assert that the EU should also have established measurements to assess the success of suggested methods of noise abatement.

In the book, and in a private conversation I had with John Stewart, there is hope that once the UK’s actions with regard to noise are not  tied to EU oversight, the possibility exists that the UK will focus on ways to abate identified noises and employ methodologies to evaluate the success of the abatement measures.  John added that Prime Minister May had, in the past, recognized the dangers of noise, so he hoped that she would respond positively to the suggestions in their book, a copy of which will be forwarded to her shortly.

While having some doubt about John’s optimism, I still wished him well in his undertaking. I added that I would be reflecting on how the newly appointed head of the U.S. EPA, Scott Pruitt, would be addressing the noise issue in our country. At this point, John wished me “good luck.”