10 April 2012

Noise Maps

noise map
Noise levels where I live

Defra has produced ‘noise maps’ of large urban areas. The idea is that the information will help in calculating how many people are affected by loud noise and in making action plans for maintenance or reduction in levels, or even the preservation of quiet places. Of course the government are doing this in response to an EU directive, rather than out of the goodness of their hearts, but still, it makes for a bit of fun.

The map above is of the noise produced by cars driving through the estate I live on. It seems we’re a quiet bunch generally, with the Didsbury crowd in the bottom left corner getting a little noisier. What is interesting as far as wildlife is concerned is that gardens and a local municipal park do provide quiet havens

noise map rail
Noise from the local railway line

A railway line runs nearby. I don't really notice it when drinking my coffee in the garden. It's more noticeable in the evening when it has that echo-y sound of the iconic American trains steaming out onto the wide prairies. It adds a little romance to English suburbia.

noise map motorway M60
Noise levels of M60

Here the map has been zoomed out to show our local motorway, the M60. Yep, it's loud at over 75 db along its whole length. What is noticeable is that the noise created by the cars extends some distance from the road. Apparently there is a risk of heart disease if noise levels of over 65 db are constant. So don't go retiring within the sound of a motorway.

noise map motorway M60
M60 at night

This is the same area at night: a motorway never sleeps.

noise map Manchester
Noise from roads in Manchester

And finally here is Manchester city centre.  Not too bad.  I wonder if the noise levels were much louder when Manchester was full of cotton mills?  Perhaps the Victorians had it worse than we do now, even though there are more of us.