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Rockwool finds that noise troubles more than half of UK residents

22 Aug 12 Urban noise pollution is causing British householders a major headache according to new research from insulation specialist Rockwool.

It found that more than half (56%) of British residents have been disturbed by noise in the past 12 months, with more than a fifth (21%) being disturbed more than six times by noisy neighbours.

Rockwool, the world’s largest producer of stone wool insulation which gives acoustic, thermal and fire protection in buildings, has found that when it comes to noisy homes, Britons living in flats are suffering more than most. Nearly three quarters (71%) of those living in flats say they have been disturbed by noise in the past 12 months, compared to just 39% of those living in detached houses.

Those living in high-rise flats are Britain’s noise underclass, suffering more than any other households, with those living in flats of five storeys or more saying they were disturbed on average 5.8 times over the past 12 months, compared to 4.8 disturbances suffered by those in low-rise flats and just 1.6 times for those living in detached homes.

The study suggests that flat dwellers are particularly susceptible to noise generated in surrounding properties as a result of Britain’s interior design revolution and trend for open plan living. For example, more than one in ten (11%) Britons who have been regularly disturbed by noise in the past 12 months complained about the din from neighbours walking on wooden floors, rising to one in four (25%) of those living in flats. Also, over 1.5m homeowners say they have removed internal walls to create an open plan space in the past three years, removing the noise barriers created by internal walls.

More than half (53%) of those living in semi-detached houses have been disturbed by noise in the past 12 months, with almost two thirds (64%) of those living in terrace houses complaining about noise.

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Britons living in rural areas and villages suffered the least amount of noise disturbances from neighbours, with the average resident being disturbed just 2.5 times a year. Urban dwellers were disturbed most frequently, with the average person saying they’d been disturbed by noise 4.3 times in the past 12 months.

Most (53%) noise disturbances occurred during the night, from 9.30pm-6am, with a further 19% occurring between 6pm and 9.30pm. Mornings (between 6am – 12pm) were the time when the least number of Britons say they are interrupted by noise, with just 10% saying this is when they have been disturbed.

Paula Bateman, Corporate Affairs Director of Rockwool UK said: “Noise pollution is a problem faced by a large proportion of the British population and should not be ignored.  Not only does it affect the enjoyment of the home, but studies show it can also have a negative impact on health and wellbeing.                  

“It is important that noise reduction is considered right from the start of a building’s design and construction, and it should be at the forefront of house hunter’s minds too.”

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