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Noise abatement is a set of strategies that are designed to reduce noise pollution. The main sources of noise are aircraft noise and roadway noise and abatement techniques include transportation noise control, architectural design and occupational noise control.
Noise can cause anxiety, tension, or even illness, and prolonged exposure to high levels of noise can cause hearing loss. Noise is regarded as a form of environmental pollution, and is sometimes considered an international health concern.
Greenspace has the ability to mitigate noise in urban areas. Planting “noise buffers” composed of trees and shrubs can reduce noise by five to ten decibels for every 30m width of woodland, especially sharp tones, and this reduces noise to the human ear by approximately 50%. To achieve this effect, the species and the planting design must be chosen carefully.
The effective management and extension and creation of new woodland areas helps to screen noise and pollution, restore and enhance degraded landscapes, provide recreational opportunities, improve health and well-being and also help mitigate climate change and contribute to floodplain management.
The successful growth of trees in urban areas is dependent on a number of factors, including the species type. The Right Tree for a Changing Climate database can help to determine the most appropriate tree for a location and aid in the management of trees in urban green space.
Generalised recommendations to reduce noise with rows of trees and shrubs include:
The East London green grid is a long-term project to develop a network of greenspaces along the Thames Gateway, South Essex. The project is intended to offer a range of benefits including:
Bell, S. (1999). Tranquillity mapping as an aid to forest planning. Forestry Commission Information Note 16. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.
CL:AIRE (2009). Integrated remediation, reclamation and greenspace creation on brownfield land(PDF-576K). Subr:im bulletin, CLA:IRE.
Doick, K. and Hutchings, T. (2007). Greenspace establishment on brownfield land: the site selection and investigation process. Forestry Commission Information Note 91. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.
Faculty of Public Health (2010). Great outdoors: How our natural health services uses green space to improve well-being(PDF-473K). Natural England.
Forestry and Woodlands Partnership (2006). The Draft South East Plan. What’s in it for Forestry and Woodlands?(PDF-495K) Forestry Commission, England.
Greenspace (2007). The links between green space and health: A critical literature review (PDF-249K). Executive summary. Greenspace, Scotland.
Land Use Consultants (2004). Making the links: greenspace and quality of life(PDF-2370K). Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 060 (ROAME No. F03AB01).
Macmillan, D. and Bateman, I. (2000). Non-market benefits of forestry: phase 1. Report to the Forestry Commission.
WHO Collaborating Centre for Healthy Urban Environments (2010). Spatial determinants of health in urban settings. Evidence Review(PDF-211K). University of West of England, Bristol.
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