TWELVE MILLION people in the UK are blighted by 'unacceptable' transport noise levels, according to Environment Minister Michael Meacher last week.
Meacher's comments came as he urged greater use of the new Sound Immission Contour Map system recently developed and piloted by Birmingham City Council to reduce the problem.
The system produces colour coded maps which illustrate the combined effect of road, rail and aircraft noise.
Little information is available about noise levels and their effects in the city, explained Meacher. 'The Birmingham Noise Maps can be used as a blueprint for other cities to model their noise and tackle social, economic and health problems caused by unacceptable noise levels,' he added.
Full results of the Birmingham trials will not be known for some time. But if the early success is confirmed, Government will consider bringing in a National Ambient Noise Strategy, through which local authorities could expect funding for similar mapping exercises. Mapping of the whole country is estimated to cost £15M.