Urban Living, Deprivation and Noise

Noise in flats and apartments

Urban Living and Noise – the Stats

Living in urban environments ain’t easy; not only are you more likely to suffer from road, rail and aircraft noise you are more likely to complain about neighbour noise (be that from commercial or residential sources). We’ve found that there is a strong relationship between the number of noise complaints and population density.

urban noise pollution - opulation density
urban and rural noise pollution rates

The figures are not surprising; it is something that we know and, to a certain extent, accept. Thankfully local authorities tend to take more enforcement action in the areas that are most affected. So, in urban environments, the rate of notices served is generally higher (and those Councils receiving the most complaints generally take the most action).

What we didn’t expect to find was no relationship between areas of high deprivation and the likelyhood of complaints being received.

noise complaints - deprivation and complaints

However, since we were using the ONS indices, we know that the term “deprivation” is not necessarily just associated with income or wealth but takes into account other factors. Higher levels of rural deprivation, where property values may be lower and levels of unemployment significant, could also be a contributing factor that may balance figures. Furthermore, previous research has shown us that “those with the means” tend to be more likely to take advantage of public services (i.e. complain about noise).

Areas with higher proportions of social housing stock were more likely to experience a higher level of noise complaints. Again though, social housing is more likely to be located in built up areas and in dwellings concentrated in close proximity to each other (i.e. flats).

social housing and noise pollution complaints

The bottom line is though that, rich or poor, noise does not discriminate and affects all walks of life; moreso if you live in an urban environment.


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