Could we all be a little more quiet, please? A behavioural-science commentary on 'Research fo a quieter Europe in 2020'

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Abstract

European noise research and policy-making overall not so effective thus far is considered from a behavioural science perspective. First, an overview is given of a recent strategy paper by the EU's CALM network1, focused on perception-related and emission-related research. After a summary of noise effects on human well-being, environmental noise problems are discussed as socio-technical problems where the social part is just as important as the technical part. The behavioural and social components of noise emission, transmission, exposure and effect are explicated. Environmental stress is considered as a double-sided phenomenon involving subjects' threat appraisal and their coping appraisal, each comprising specific underlying variables. From the wider perspective explained, several comments are given on the research strategy CALM is proposing. It is argued that: increasing motorisation undermines noise abatement; dose-response relationships reflect only part of the problem; more attention is needed for the causative behaviour of noisy actors; technical noise-reduction measures are necessary but insufficient; and that noise as a daily stressor should be treated in the context of people's overall quality of life. Specific suggestions are listed for EU noise research and policy-making. One conclusion is that more effective and visionary European noise policies may well be started tomorrow and need not depend on 15 years more research as envisaged in the CALM strategy paper.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59 - 70
Number of pages12
JournalNoise & Health
Volume7
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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