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We would like to hear your views on Welsh Government policies concerning the airborne sound environment. We have set out a summary of the evidence, our current policies and our priorities for the next five years in the draft Noise and Soundscape Plan 2023-2028. Once adopted, this will serve as our national strategy on soundscapes until its next review and update, which is expected to occur in 2028.
Noise, meaning unwanted or harmful sound, affects health and well-being in a number of ways, including sleep disturbance, annoyance, impacts on learning, decreased productivity, hearing loss and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. It can arise from a wide variety of human activities including domestic, commercial and transportation sources.
Soundscape is defined as the acoustic (or sound) environment as perceived or experienced and/or understood by a person or people, in context. It includes the sounds people do want to hear as well as the noises they don’t. Planning Policy Wales lists appropriate soundscapes, meaning the right sound environment in the right time and place, among our National Sustainable Placemaking Outcomes.
In 2018, we published the Noise and Soundscape Action Plan 2018-2023 (NSAP), which reframed noise policy in Wales in terms of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 (“the WFG Act”). It resulted in Wales being recognised as the first nation to include soundscapes in national policy, and it was referenced in the United Nations Environment Programme’s Frontiers 2022 report.
Earlier this year, we introduced the Environment (Air Quality and Soundscapes) (Wales) Bill, which will require us to produce a national strategy on soundscapes. In 2018, we did this voluntarily in the form of the NSAP, but we believe giving the new Noise and Soundscape Plan 2023-2028 a more solid legal foundation will raise its profile and increase its effectiveness in guiding informed decision-making.
The draft Noise and Soundscape Plan 2023-2028 retains and refines the core messages of the NSAP, which include:
- our ambition being appropriate soundscapes;
- our commitment to embed the five ways of working in the WFG Act; and
- our commitment to join up action on noise and air quality wherever it makes sense to do so.
The draft Plan covers new topics that have come to the fore within the last five years, such as issues around remote working, aural diversity, air source heat pumps, changes in speed limits, and fireworks. It also sets out what we have delivered over the last five years, such as noise mitigation works completed on the trunk road network.
Developments in planning policy and guidance, notably work towards publishing and implementing a new Technical Advice Note (TAN 11) and related soundscape design guidance, on which we recently consulted, are also included in the Plan, as are our latest noise maps and results from the National Survey for Wales 2021-22.
People will experience the benefits of a transition from traditional noise control to a more inclusive soundscape-based approach when they can see public bodies taking on board local communities’ views on their sound environments, in terms of both what they value and what they think needs to be improved.
How to respond
Send your views on this consultation to firstname.lastname@example.org by 2 October 2023.
There a several ways to respond:
- complete our online form
- download, complete our consultation response form and email it to: email@example.com
- download, complete our consultation response form and post to:
Noise and Soundscape Plan consultation
Environmental Protection Division
Further information and related documents
Large print, Braille and alternative language versions of this document are available on request.
Post: Noise and Soundscape Plan consultation
Environmental Protection Division
This document is also available in Welsh
UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR)
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Welsh Ministers have statutory powers they will rely on to process this personal data which will enable them to make informed decisions about how they exercise their public functions. The lawful basis for processing information in this data collection exercise is our public task; that is, exercising our official authority to undertake the core role and functions of the Welsh Government (Art 6(1)(e)).
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For further details about the information the Welsh Government holds and its use, or if you want to exercise your rights under the UK GDPR, please see contact details below:
Data Protection Officer:
Tel: 0303 123 1113