§ John Robertson
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to reduce noise pollution in the UK. 
§ Mr. Meacher
Much has been done to address noise from transport and industry including: reducing the level of noise generated by individual vehicles and aircraft; 1123W traffic management schemes; resurfacing roads with low noise surfaces; and addressing noise at the planning stage of new noise generation or noise sensitive developments. Such action has considerably reduced the output of noise from individual sources but has often failed to reduce the overall ambient noise because of other factors, such as the growth in the number of vehicles on our roads. We are developing a strategic approach to build on the progress already made. A consultation seeking views on the first steps towards an Ambient Noise Strategy in England was launched on 20 December last year. A significant part of this strategic approach will be an exercise to build on the noise mapping already carried out of the major transport and industrial noise sources across England. The first stage of this exercise, for which £13 million has been set aside, will start later this year. The strategy will also act as a foundation to the implementation of the forthcoming European directive on the assessment and management of environmental noise which will address ambient noise across the whole of the UK.