In August this year, the Greater London Authority published their draft London Environment Strategy, within which noise is a key factor. In their aims for 2050, they state explicitly that the ‘number of people adversely affected by noise will be reduced and more quiet and tranquil spaces will be promoted’. The City of London Noise Strategy 2016 – 2026 further addresses this objective as they appreciate the balance needed for noise within city life:
“The noise resulting from the vibrancy of the City for many is iconic, invigorating and an essential element or ‘buzz’ of the City ‘soundscape’. However, for others City noise can detract from enjoyment, be an annoyance, or detrimental to health and wellbeing.”
This strategy of course has strong ties into the work we do everyday to provide acoustic solutions. Here we take a deeper dive into its key themes and how this translates into the way we work with our clients.
The City of London Corporation has a statutory responsibility to manage and minimise noise and this ten-year strategy is an update and continuation from the first noise strategy, published in 2012. It sets out the actions needed to maintain and, where possible, improve the City’s soundscape.
The updated strategy recognises the need to provide respite from urban noise and encourages and incentivises improvements to the acoustic environment for those living and working in the City of London. For example, the City of London Corporation is actively encouraging the identification of relatively tranquil areas in the City and helping to make sure these areas are protected.
The strategy also recognises the differing needs of the communities who are based in the City and strives to achieve a balance to minimise or reduce noise in order to support health and wellbeing for all. It acknowledges the obvious challenges in relation to development, transport and visitor numbers, observing that one of the main sources of noise complaints arises from building works. The strategy highlights the importance of early engagement with developers, managing noise from new developments and implementing appropriate planning and licensing policies.
As a conscious acoustics consultancy, we aim to make an active contribution to a sustainable future and improved quality of life through the work we do. We are currently supporting a project called Tranquil City, founded by our consultant Grant Waters. Grant leads for Anderson Acoustics on building acoustics and soundscapes, in addition to his work on the tranquility in city environments. The project collaborates soundscapes with a variety of other disciplines, as set out in the Mayor’s Environment Strategy, such as air quality management, green infrastructure and ecology, urban climate, low-impact mobility, sustainable architecture, public engagement and data science. Read more about Tranquil City here.
Our team of consultant acousticians help developers and their stakeholders at an early stage of a building project to work together to consider acoustics and noise issues up front, not only to reduce and mitigate noise but also to positively create a sense of place through sound.
You can read more about our work with soundscapes here.
Image below from ‘London Environment Strategy, Greater London Authority’ (August 2016):