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Noise pollution has increased since the pandemic began as people are socialising at home

A recent survey found that just under one third of UK residents have difficulty sleeping because of noise pollution - a problem that has only worsened with the pandemic.

As people are unable to go out, socialising, drinking, playing loud music and other leisure activities are happening from home - this has led to a significant increase in household noise.

According to a survey of 1,646 Brits, conducted by the sustainable insulation company Rockwool, 31 percent of the population now finds it difficult to sleep - and one third say that they’ve noticed an increase in noise since the March 2020 lockdowns. With three in ten people surveyed saying noise has stopped them from opening their doors and windows. Overall 77 percent of people said they hear unwanted noise in their homes.

“The pandemic has led to more people working, studying, and spending time in their own homes. With this they’ve become more aware of unwanted noise and our results show it’s having a detrimental effect on their ability to relax, unwind, or even sleep,” said Darryl Matthews, managing director of Rockwool.

“This data shows that noise is a serious problem, impacting on our quality of life and the enjoyment of our homes.” Gloria Elliott OBE, Chief Executive of the Noise Abatement Society added. “Noise is a major nuisance, but worse than that it can also seriously affect people’s health and wellbeing,” she said.

Furthermore, figures obtained by Rockwool from local officials suggest the pandemic has led to a 29 percent increase in noise complaints.

The biggest rises in noise complaints came from Birmingham City Council with an increase of 156 percent, the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames with a 99 percent increase and London Borough of Bexley with a 76 percent increase in 2020 as compared with figures from the previous year.

Regulators struggle to monitor and manage these types of noise complaints, particularly outside of working hours. The cost and effort involved in investigation means many organisations are struggling under a backlog of complaints, meaning residents can suffer for months before investigations even begin. NoiseNet works with government authorities, using technology to make the investigation and resolution of noise complaints faster, cheaper and more accurate.

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