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  • Writer's picturePeter Rogers

Peter Rogers gives evidence to House of Lords Committee

Updated: May 8

In his role as Chair of the Parliamentary Liaison Group for the Institute of Acoustics (IoA) Peter Rogers gave noise evidence on 28 March 2023, to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee. Peter was part of a panel of experts giving evidence.

The panel was made up of Stephen Turner, Immediate Past President of IoA, Peter Rogers, Chair of the Parliamentary Liaison Group, Paul Mucullogh member of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) and Somayya Yaqub, member of CIEH. The session focussed on policy and the panel answered questions as part of the committee’s enquiry into the effects of noise on human health.

Peter Rogers sat giving evidence to the House of Lords Comittee

The panel explained to the committee there is a strong evidence base for noise and its impact on human health, with noise control and noise management tackling the worst impacts. The panel also explained that noise is currently tackled through insulation, rather than good acoustic design of housing. There is a need for more research on balancing the noise impacts of renewable technologies like air source heat pumps and for all disciplines to work together to find sensitive solutions as we work to build sustainable housing.

The panel explained is the need for more research for further improving our understanding for noise sources, other than transportation (for which lots exist). There is also the emerging field of soundscape, which focuses on the positive aspects of sound in our environments. When asked to provide additional information on evidence supporting a healthy soundscape approach, Peter said;

“..we spend over 90% of our lives inside these days… { } So part of this is about making sure that our internal environments are restorative—in other words, you can have quality sleep, rest and respite as well as the ability to access external space that has good-quality amenity, which is where soundscape quality comes in.”

Peter explained that noise and soundscapes have recently been drawn to the attention of policy-makers around the world in a recent report by the UN. He said,

“I would like to flag up and direct you to the UN Frontiers report 2022, which sets out clearly opportunities for moving forward. It is a great visionary approach and call from the UN to pick up on sound, particularly soundscapes, in dealing with noise pollution.”

IOA representatives raised the current omission of noise from overarching government environmental policy. They explained the introduction of a Sound and Noise Management Strategy could help to address this, alongside an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) covering noise and health. It was explained that this would enable noise practitioners to more effectively draw issues to the attention of policymakers.

A close up image of Peter Rogers sat giving evidence to the House of Lords Comittee

When asked to sum up Peter said:

“I remind everyone that noise and sound are ubiquitous; they affect all our lives all the time. It is the way we connect to our environment… “

Peter went on to explain,

“So my number one priority would be restorative soundscapes. It is thinking about what it takes for us to be able to sleep well, to have respite and to recover, to play and have vibrancy and to enjoy that, and ultimately to engage with the world around us in a way that is restorative for bioservices.”

Watch the full session here on Parliament TV:

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