Expert casts doubt on London boroughs noise report


Map showing noise levels in London. Pic: Barratt London

A noise expert has cast doubt on research which suggests that Tower Hamlets is the quietest London borough, despite having the second highest population density.

House builders Barrett London analysed crowdsourced data of over 4,000 decibel readings across the capital using sound measuring application WideNoise.

They found Tower Hamlets had an average reading of 53.3 decibels (dB) from 44 recordings, making it the quietest borough in the city.

According to the Office of National Statistics, Tower Hamlets has a population density of 15, 404, the second highest in London.

But Ed Clarke, managing director of acoustics consultancy Clarke Saunders and former chairman of the Association of Noise Consultants told ELL: “Anything which gets people talking about noise pollution is probably a good thing, but I’d caution against relying too much on the accuracy of something based on measurements by a few dozen people with their phones, a number of them possibly Barratt staff even?”

“It’s similar to a research done by The Sun few years back on Britain’s noisiest towns which was based on a single noise measurement in each place, which basically just depends on which road you stand next to, and how close you get to the curb”, he said.

“These sorts of measurements do not give an accurate representation of noise levels.” Clarke reiterated.

He added: “Population density directly affects traffic flow and road traffic noise is the dominant factor that affects residential noise levels. I would be cautious using this data.’’

Barrett London is the market-leading residential developer in London and has been building homes for the last 60 years.

According to the noise report, Sutton with an average of 53.8 dB in 33 recordings and Waltham forest with an average of 56.1 dB from 34 readings make up the top three quietest boroughs in London.

Croydon with an average of 56.5 dB is the fourth quietest borough in the city while Hackney has an average of 63.7 dB and Lewisham has an average of 64.2 dB. Which ranks them as the 11th and 15th quietest boroughs.

Islington is the noisiest borough in the city, according to the research. With an average of 77.2 dB, Barrett London equates this noise level to that of a dishwasher or freight-train.

A Barrett London spokesperson responded, saying: “The research provided an average decibel level based on readings taken at various times of the day and days of the week by individuals.”

“The figure for Tower Hamlets (53.3dB) was taken from an average of 44 readings. This relatively low figure may be accounted for by the fact that areas of the borough such as Canary Wharf are significantly quieter at weekends, bringing the overall average down.”

One Response

  1. Mr C Elk July 12, 2018

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