§ Mr. Meacher
The Government do not assess the number of people, across the whole country, exposed to noise every year and so there are no data relating specifically to the last 12 months. Such an exercise is, however, carried out periodically and levels outside dwellings were last measured, in 2000 for England and Wales and 2001 for Scotland and Northern Ireland, at over 1,000 sites in total, for a 24 hour period. The results of this National Noise Incidence Survey, which I announced on 20 May 2002, established that 24 per cent. of the population was exposed to noise levels between 55–65 dBLAeq over 24 hours and 2 per cent. of the population was exposed to noise levels greater than 65 dBLAeq over 24 hours. It should be noted that these dBLAeq levels represent the "free field" values outside dwellings. Such levels outside dwellings (i.e. ignoring sound reflected back from the façade of the dwelling) are, of course, greater than the actual levels experienced from external sources inside the home. I have arranged for copies of the report to be placed in the Libraries of both houses.
§ Mr. Meacher
Figures for 2000–01, published by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), were announced by myself on 20 December 2001. These show a fall in the 2000–01 figures to 5,001 domestic noise complaints received by local authorities per million population, from 5,149 per million population in 1999–2000. In 1998–99 the figure was 4,330 domestic noise complaints per million population.
These figures are compiled using questionnaires returned by local authorities in England and Wales on an annual basis. This information has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, and is also available on the DEFRA and CIEH websites.
Category of noise nuisance Complaints per million population 2000–01 Industrial 346 Commercial/leisure 1,038 Domestic 5,001 Construction/demolition sites 325 Vehicles 162 Equipment in the street 209
Category of noise nuisance Complaints per million population 1999–2000 Industrial 421 Commercial/leisure 960 Domestic 5,149 Construction/demolition sites 292 Vehicles 156 Equipment in the street 113 1998–99 Industrial 444 Commercial/leisure 836 Domestic 4,330 Construction/demolition sites 248 Vehicles 146 Equipment in the street 107