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Call Government for OECD/WHO/EU standards for traffic noise


CEAC/ residents seek health/wellbeing protection by adopting OECD/WHO/EU urban traffic noise standards.

Confirmation from several reports both from NZTA/Transit-NZ acoustical consultants have since 2001 warned residents that heavy traffic levels coupled with raising busy roads over residential zones will “lift the noise level”. (See Traffic effects) : FHWA Website on Highway Traffic Noise below the end of this report.

This may affect most regions of NZ today with high truck freight movement through residential zones.

This issue was raised to Napier residents in a report as long ago as 2001 when a “flyover” ‘overbridge’ on HB Expressway was built over several Napier residential suburbs of Greenmeadows East, Tamatea, and Pirimai.

In the press release from ‘Transit NZ’ featured in the local paper ‘HB Today’ on Friday June 22nd 2001 an article appeared in the press under “Flyover will lift noise level; report.” The article showed the traffic levels then would increase but noise levels would stay; - quote; ‘within their guidelines’ apart from two small groups of houses in two residential areas of ‘Downing Avenue, and Hamlin Place’.

• Today in 2019 (18 years later).
• the rail has almost stopped moving freight
• so the truck traffic has massively increased and all traffic volumes have trebled
• This has caused many negative noise and pollution impacts to resident health and wellbeing causing complaints from all residential zones near the HB Expressway.

• So CEAC asked NZTA for involvement to measure the noise levels using the “OECD/WHO/EU urban traffic noise standards.” Whereas they measure “in specific environments” under WHO “Guidelines for community noise“ WHO guidelines for community noise 1999.
• WHO headquarters, 1999 the “low frequency traffic noise emissions” in a more accurate method by capturing the more damaging lower frequencies noise from trucks that penetrates the homes easily even if those homes were heavily insulated, as acoustic consultants have warned that the ‘low frequency vibrations emitted from trucks is transmitted from the trucks though the ground and under the homes to produce an averse effect to the residents and health effects can result with continual exposure to those low frequencies as they cause “sound pressure waves”

CEAC wants NZTA to send a ‘specialised noise consultant in using more ‘descriptors’ for “low frequency truck noise emissions” to meet the residents at a inclusive public meeting to hear their complaints and measure for “low frequency traffic noise levels from trucks” in all residential zones now heavily affected by the massive truck freight now impacting on residential health and wellbeing.
Sadly since we requested this, no response has been received from NZTA for a meeting with a acoustical consultant or use measurement ‘descriptors’ for “low frequency traffic noise levels from trucks” so it now is in the governments court to ensure our health and wellbeing.

The WHO and EU traffic noise guidelines in residential zones are far more protective of residential health protection from noise in residential zones overseas than NZ standards are, and local residents in many NZ residential areas are now seeking that same ‘protection’ be given their health and wellbeing in NZ. WHO guidelines for community noise
WHO headquarters, 1999.

This week we were fortunate to have our Community Environmental Company offer to conduct several traffic noise surveys of truck transport emissions of “low frequency noise“ measurement using the combined ‘descriptors’ from two separate Acoustical metering units at selected residents properties affected by truck traffic alongside the highway in the city.

The acoustical referenced system used was covered in the ‘World Health Organisation’ (WHO) documents regarding “Health effects of traffic noise”
WHO guidelines for community noise
WHO headquarters, 1999


The results were stark as there was a 10% increase in “low frequency” noise registered using the lower frequency measurement scale rather than the standard method used by NZTA and those logged results showed we are actually living in a “adverse effects” environment in residential areas near heavy traffic roads.

One truck 20 meters away from the home emitted 86.3dBC on one meter while on the other meter at the same time measured only 73.9dBA.

Over the course of the survey this variance was repeated many times signalling a call for more accurate surveys using a multiple sets of ‘descriptors’ when measuring heavy laden freight truck movements through ‘noise sensitive residential zones’.

This is why we need to adopt the OECD/WHO/EU traffic noise ‘standards’ for residential traffic noise to protect residential health and wellbeing.
Source: FHWA Website on Highway Traffic Noise
Government read this please;
CAUSES OF TRAFFIC NOISE
The following affect highway traffic noise:
________________________________________
I. Traffic Volume
2000 vehicles per hour sounds twice as loud as 200 vehicles per hour.
II. Vehicle Speed
Traffic at 65 miles per hour sounds twice as loud as traffic at 30 miles per hour.
III. Trucks
One truck at 55 miles per hour sounds as loud as 10 cars at 55 miles per hour.
Note:
The loudness of traffic noise is generally increased by a closer distance to the highway, heavier traffic volume, higher speed, and a larger number of trucks.
Vehicle noise is a combination of the noise from the engine, exhaust, and tires.
Defective mufflers and other faulty vehicle parts can also increase the loudness of traffic noise.
Any condition, such as a steep incline, that causes heavy labouring of motor vehicle engines will also increase traffic noise levels.

Source: FHWA Website on Highway Traffic Noise

We are calling for Labour/NZF Government to use OECD/WHO/EU traffic noise ‘standards’ for residential traffic noise to protect residential health and wellbeing.

Ken Crispin.
Secretary.
Citizens Environmental Advocacy Centre.

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