Noise is the environmental problem that affects the largest number of people in Norway. Nearly 1.4 million are exposed to noise levels above 55 dBA outside their home. The number has increased by a quarter of a million since 1999.

Noise is everywhere in our society

For many years, growth in the transport sector has been generating a great deal of noise. Road traffic is the dominant source of noise in Norway. From 1999 to 2011, the number of people exposed to noise from road traffic increased with about 226 000.

The number of people who are exposed to noise from air traffic, industry and other industries increased slightly, while fewer are exposed to noise from railways.

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Noise causes health problems

Sleep disturbance due to noise affects 200 000 people in Norway. Research shows that noise can cause stress, muscular tension and musculoskeletal disorders, and may be a contributory factor behind high blood pressure and the development of heart disease.

Action plan for noise reduction

Norway has specific targets for the reduction of noise annoyance by 2020, and a national action plan describes what must be done to achieve these targets.

In many areas with particularly high outdoor noise levels, residential buildings already have improved facade insulation and noise screens. But to achieve Norway’s targets, noise levels must also be reduced at source. Low-noise technology for road surfaces, engines and tyres is important. Norway has government guidelines for incorporating noise into land use planning, which must be used more actively.