Village Victims of the Noise Invaders
Byline: JAMES CHAPMAN
THE peace and quiet of the countryside is being shattered as never before, anti-noise campaigners warned yesterday.
More and more lives are being made a misery by loud music, barking dogs, traffic and aircraft noise.
The problem is being made worse by urban sprawl, with England losing an area of rural tranquillity almost the size of Wales since the 1960s because of housing development and road building. Now three environmental groups are uniting to call for Government action.
The United Kingdom Noise Association (UKNA), the National Society for Clean Air and Environmental Protection (NSCA) and the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) make their appeal today, which has been dubbed National Noise Action Day. Tony Burton, the CPRE's assistant director, said: 'Tranquillity and the chance to get away from it all are defining features of rural England.
'As rural tranquillity is shattered and it becomes ever harder to find peace and quiet in the countryside near to towns, so the quality of life of the nation is diminished.' John Stewart, chairman of UKNA, said they hoped to lobby Environment Minister Michael Meacher for a comprehensive noise strategy. Research from the NCSA, published yesterday, showed that complaints about amplified music and dogs continues to increase.
It also showed that informal solutions, such as mediation, are more effective than resorting to law when tackling noise disputes between neighbours.
Richard Mills, NSCA secretary general, said a National Noise Strategy would 'enable us to work towards a more acceptable noise climate for everyone'.
The three largest areas of rural tranquillity in England are found in the north Pennines, north Devon and the Marches of Shropshire and Herefordshire.
The report suggests the introduction of a network of 'quiet lanes' in the countryside where walkers and riders have priority. …