A recent Swedish study emphasises that exposure to significant noise from road traffic is associated with raised blood pressure(1). This finding, which confirms earlier research (2), makes new measures to protect public health from traffic noise imperative. Dr Hazel Dawe comments:
“New research confirming that traffic noise exposure will raise blood pressure is a wakeup call to traffic planners. People living on busy roads are entitled to expect their Highways Authority – Kent or Medway – to take action to protect their health by reducing noise exposure.
"Kent Green Party’s policy, to seek consistent traffic reductions throughout the County through expanding walking, cycling, bus and train use and more movement of freight by rail, will help. The current Kent Local Transport Plan will not. Once again, Kent Green Party calls publically for our Highways Authorities in Kent to commit themselves to year on year traffic reductions.
“This won’t just help with traffic noise and the resulting ill-health. It will reduce air pollution. Our Government is about to be prosecuted by the European Court of Justice for breaching air quality laws to which it has agreed in the past. It will mean reduced costs of road repair. It will mean buses running closer to times and more promptly on some routes, with less traffic. It will mean that the costs of new lorry parks can be avoided. It will challenge the spread of warehousing projects in Kent and Medway, by pushing more long-distance freight on to rail(3). All of this is a win-win situation for public health and our environment.”
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FURTHER INFORMATION: Dr Hazel Dawe, Chair – KENT GREEN PARTY – on 01732 355185 or mobile 07747 036192. Contact address as above.
1. The article, widely reported, can be found at: http://www.ehjournal.net/content/8/1/38/abstract See, on this Swedish research: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8247217.stm Another study makes similar claims to the Swedish research: http://www.noiseandhealth.org/article.asp?issn=1463-1741;year=2008;volume=10;issue=38;spage=27;epage=33;aulast=Babisch;type=0
2. Other research linking traffic noise to damage to health has been reported, in a Cornell University study: SEE: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010523072445.htm See also: LCE den Boer – Traffic Noise Reduction in Europe (available on line); http://www.nature.com/hr/journal/v31/n4/abs/hr2008101a.html ; http://www.env-health.org/a/3348 ; http://www.mex.dk/uk/vis_nyhed_uk.asp?id=6443&nyhedsbrev_id=939
3. Such as the China Gateway in Thanet, The Kent International Gateway project, near Maidstone, currently undergoing a public inquiry and the proposed Kent and Rail Freight Terminal at Borough Green.