Quiet-List 1997

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Re: Barking Dogs & Reincarnation &c &c

Chris wrote:

> Measurement and sensitivity to noise can be more closely related than is
> commonly practiced.  But it gets technical and is best discussed
> graphically.  But the basic concept is this:
> People are less sensitive to a sound environment that is considered
> "white noise".  Among the characteristics of white noise are (1) it is
> constant in sound level, and (2) the frequencies are distributed over a
> wide range.  A large waterfall is an example of white noise. 
> Sensitivity to sound levels can be estimated by using factors that
> include both the sound level and the "white noise" character.  Both can
> be determined from measurements, provided that the measurements are
> sufficiently frequent.  I have developed a rating method for noise based
> on this approach.

Is your approach similar to the PNdB's one?
By the way, is anyone have detailled information on the sharpness index
(Zwicker's or Aures' methods), the Bark's bands, the fluctuation strength
and the annoyance index defined by Zwicker?

John D'Arcy-Evans wrote:

> A ray of light at the end of the tunnel seems to be the intention of the
> British Government to research the social cost of noise during 1998. 
> Hopefully, the end of 1998 will therefore present us with something
> meaningful to build on, even if it has emerged from a European context.
> Regards ...

The European commission already made a study which is summed up in a green
here is the summary:

"Environmental noise, caused by traffic, industrial and recreational
activities is one of the main local environmental problems in Europe and
the source of an increasing number of complaints from the public. Generally
however action to reduce environmental noise has had a lower priority than
that taken to address other environmental problems such as air and water

The 1993 Fifth Environmental Action Programme started to remedy this and
included a number of basic targets for noise exposure to be reached by the
year 2000, while the recent proposal on the review of the Fifth Action
Programme (COM(95)647) announces  the development of a noise abatement
programme for action to meet these targets.

This Green Paper is the first step in the development of such a programme
and aims to stimulate public discussion on the future approach to noise
policy. It reviews the overall noise situation and Community and national
action taken to date followed by the outline of a framework for action
covering the improvement of information and its comparability and future
options for the reduction of noise from different sources."

The data available on noise exposure is generally poor in comparison to
that collected to measure other environmental problems and often difficult
to compare due to the different measurement and assessment methods. However
it has been estimated that around 20 percent of the Union's population or
close on 80 million people suffer from noise levels that scientists and
health experts consider to be unacceptable, where most people become
annoyed, where sleep is disturbed and where adverse health effects are to
be feared. An additional 170 million citizens are living in so-called 'grey
areas' where the noise levels are such to cause serious annoyance during
the daytime.

A wide variety of studies have examined the question of the external costs
of noise to society especially transport noise. The estimates range from
0.2% to 2% of GDP. The Commission's Green Paper 'Fair and Efficient Pricing
in Transport' used the lower estimate of 0.2% of GDP which represents an
annual cost to society of over 12 billion ECU.

The economic costs of noise have been examined in numerous different ways
and there are no benchmarks for standardised evaluation of costs.  Almost
all this research is limited to transportation noise.  The most common
methods used have been (INFRAS/IWW 1994):

-	Willingness to pay based on surveys
-	Change of the market value of properties; hedonic pricing
-	Cost for abatement measures
-	Cost of avoidance or prevention
-	Cost of medical care and production losses

An overview of these studies produced in 1993 (Quinet 1993) found that the
estimated costs of noise pollution vary between 0.2% and 2% of GDP. 
Generally studies based on the avoidance cost approach give low values for
noise costs - below 0.1% of GDP, while studies using the willingness to pay
approach give higher values.  All the studies on willingness to pay have
been carried out in countries with a high per capita income.  Willingness
to pay is undoubtedly dependent on the ability to pay and therefore noise
would probably not be valued so high in less rich countries.

In Germany a number of studies have been based on the willingness to pay
for a better noise environment approach and show that on average an
individual would be prepared to pay around 10 ECU per 1 dB(A) improvement
per person per year if the noise levels exceed 43 dB(A).  On this basis the
annual costs of traffic noise in Germany were estimated to be 7.8 - 9.6
Billion ECU.

The study carried out for the UIC by IFRAS/IWW (1994) made an overall
estimate for 17 European countries based on the willingness to pay approach
which shows the total cost of transport noise to be 38 billion ECU per year
(EUR15 plus Norway and Switzerland) or 0.65% of GDP.  The cost figures for
each country were adjusted to individual national situations using
purchasing power parities.

These annual costs related to transport volume break down as follows:
Passenger transport - cars 4.5 ECU/1000 passenger kilometre compared to 4.2
ECU/1000 pkm for buses, 3.1 ECU/1000 pkm for rail and 3.0 ECU/1000 pkm for
air transport.  The figure calculated for two wheelers gave the highest
cost coefficient of all modes of 60.3 ECU/1000 pkm.
Freight transport - 12.7 ECU/1000 tonne kilometre for road transport and
4.7 ECU/1000 tkm for rail transport.

Studies into the decrease in housing value depending on noise exposure for
a variety of countries over the past 25 years have shown that in the 1980s
the average rate of depreciation can be estimated at approximately 1% per
dB(A) if the noise exceeds 55 dB(A), whereas the studies covering the 1970s
show a depreciation rate of 0.3 to 0.8% per dB(A) (INRETS 1994).  On the
basis of these depreciation rates global evaluations of total damage caused
by road traffic noise have been undertaken for cities and countries.  For
France this was estimated to be 800 million ECU per year or an average of
around 30 ECU per inhabitant exposed to over 55 dB(A).

Data on the noise costs caused by aviation noise often relate to the costs
of insulation schemes in properties around airports.  These costs vary
widely depending on local labour and materials costs, the scope of the
insulation scheme, the actual indoor noise level to be reached and the
technical measures used.  This is illustrated by the following data: for
Schipol the average cost per apartment is around 23650 ECU, for Frankfurt
around 3800 ECU, Kln/Bonn 6600 ECU (for 3 bedrooms) and Manchester 2300

There is little data on actual damage costs of noise in terms of monetary
estimates of health costs.  Some work in Germany has estimated that the
annual cost of noise on public health is of the order of 500 to 1900
million ECU per annum for road noise and 100 million ECU for rail noise.

note that the value of the ECU or the EURO is close to the US$.
you can download the report from
http://europa.eu.int/en/record/green/gp9611/noise.htm choosing [en] for the
english version.

Have a nice week-end

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