One in five in the UK negatively affected by noisy roads

Image credit: Richard M Lee /

Traffic noise is disrupting the daily lives of Britons with 81% able to hear road noises around their property and one in seven (17%) UK adults completely unable to escape the sound, according to a poll commissioned by GRIDSERVE, a firm with a focus on sustainable energy technology.1

The research also found that one in five (20%) of those affected by the noise say it has a negative impact on their life.

More than a third (34%) of those people reported that they’re losing sleep because of the loud noises at night and over a fifth (22%) said it impacts their mental health. And 16% of those negatively affected have reported that road noises can even make their house shake.

As a result of this, two in 10 (23%) appear to be turning to remedial measures to deal with road noises by double- or triple-glazing windows, and 7% are constantly drowning it out by playing music. A further 17% of people have to keep all of their windows and doors closed to reduce the level of noise and almost one in 10 (8%) are having to resort to drastic measures such as using earplugs or defenders, said the survey.

A Freedom of Information request, issued by GRIDSERVE, revealed that some have complained to their local council. Of the councils that were able to supply data, the London Boroughs of Sutton and Kingston Upon Thames were among the worst affected – having each received over 115 road noise complaints in 2023 alone.2

One possible reason for optimism might be the growth of electric vehicles, and GRIDSERVE said a quarter (27%) of respondents cited electric cars as a remedy. Battery electric vehicles are estimated to be around 10 dB quieter than petrol or diesel equivalents, so at low speeds each ICE vehicle is roughly as loud as 10 electric vehicles, making a significant impact in urban residential areas.3

Rob Buckland, Chief Leasing Officer said: “Noise pollution in residential areas is impacting millions. The incessant hum of idling engines and loud traffic not only disrupts the tranquillity of our surroundings but also poses a serious threat to public health and well-being.

“At GRIDSERVE, we are committed to driving positive change in the transportation sector. Our focus on sustainable and innovative solutions, such as electric vehicle charging infrastructure and the development of eco-friendly transport alternatives, aims to mitigate the adverse effects of noise pollution.

“By embracing cleaner and quieter modes of transportation, we can contribute to creating more peaceful and liveable urban environments.”

[1] GRIDSERVE commissioned One Poll to interview 2,000 UK adults between 25 October and 1 November 2023.
[2] GRIDSERVE submitted Freedom of Information requests to 422 councils. 140 of the 422 councils supplied data on road noise in their borough, and an additional 98 councils did not hold the data.
[3] European Environment Agency, Electric vehicles from life cycle and circular economy perspectives, TERM 2018: Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM) report