Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change
One of the objectives of our Programme for Government is to make our cities, towns and villages even better places in which to live and work. The Welsh Government recognises both the positive and the negative impacts that the sound environment can have on people’s health and well-being. We are the first UK nation to include soundscapes not only in national policy but also now in primary legislation.
Today I am launching a 14-week consultation on our draft Noise and Soundscape Plan for the five-year period from 2023 to 2028. If adopted, it will replace the existing Noise and Soundscape Action Plan 2018-2023 (NSAP), and will be our first statutory national strategy on soundscapes published in accordance with Part 2 of the Environment (Air Quality and Soundscapes) (Wales) Bill.
The draft Plan retains and refines the core messages of the NSAP, which include:
- our ambition for appropriate soundscapes;
- our commitment to embed the five ways of working in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015; and
- our commitment to join up action on noise and air quality wherever it makes sense to do so.
The draft Plan sets out what we have delivered over the last five years, such as noise mitigation works completed on the trunk road network. It also highlights developments in planning policy and guidance. Notably, this includes our work towards publishing and implementing a new Technical Advice Note (TAN 11) and related soundscape design guidance.
The draft plan shows our latest noise maps and results from the noise questions asked in the National Survey for Wales 2021-22. In addition, it 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.
The consultation may be found on the Welsh Government website, and will close on 2 October, and views are welcomed.