Noise pollution

In 2018, the proportion of the population that reported suffering from noise from neighbours or the street was 17.7% in Belgium. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, this figure must be reduced to zero percent. This objective will not be reached by continuing the trend since 2003 (data available in April 2019). The proportion of the population that reported being affected by noise is therefore developing unfavourably.

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Noise pollution - Belgium - trend assessment

percentage of population

 2000200520102015201620172018202020252030
observations--23.318.918.015.615.417.7------
trend and extrapolation (April 2019)--23.519.616.716.215.715.214.513.212.6
objective 20300.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.0

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2019), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_mddw01, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 1/04/2019); calculations FPB.

Noise pollution - Belgium and international comparison

percentage of population

 200320052010201320152016201720182018//20032018//2013
Belgium25.023.318.917.518.015.615.417.7-2.30.2
EU27----20.619.118.318.117.518.2---1.0
//: Average Growth Rates

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2020), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_mddw01, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 8/06/2020).

Noise pollution by income - Belgium

percentage of population

 200320052010201320152016201720182018//20032018//2013
below 60% of median equivalised income29.126.924.122.526.023.624.723.5-1.40.9
above 60% of median equivalised income24.322.618.016.616.614.113.616.6-2.50.0
//: Average Growth Rates

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2020), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_mddw01, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 8/06/2020).

Definition: this indicator measures the share of the population that reported suffering from noise from neighbours or the street. The sensitivity to noise is subjective. A variation in the indicator may be due either to a change in the actual noise nuisance or to a change in the sensitivity to noise of the persons interviewed.

The data on this indicator are based on the Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) survey of the European Union. Statistics Belgium organises this EU-harmonised survey in Belgium and makes the results available, in particular to Eurostat. The data used here come from Eurostat, which publishes detailed and comparable results between EU Member States. Since these data are based on a survey, a margin of uncertainty must be taken into account. The confidence intervals for these data are available on request from Statistics Belgium.

Goal: the share of the population suffering from noise must be reduced to zero per cent by 2030.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include 2 targets, which mention access to adequate housing (11.1 “By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums) and the reduction of the environmental impact of cities (11.6 “By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management”).

The Federal Long-Term Strategic Vision for Sustainable Development contains objective 25 “the use of means of transport shall be accompanied by the emission of the least possible [...] noise”. In addition, the foreword to the first objective mentions decent housing as one of the preconditions for well-being.

Finally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) published in 2018 the "Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region" (WHO, 2018). It formulates recommendations on the maximum noise level to which the public should be exposed. The WHO also states that "noise is one of the major environmental risks to physical and mental health" (WHO, 2019).

The share of the population that reported suffering from noise from neighbours or the street must then tend to zero.

International comparison: the share of the population suffering from noise is just below the European average in Belgium. Between 2010 and 2018, this indicator decreased from 20.6% to 18.2% for the EU27 and from 18.9% to 17.7% for Belgium. When Member States are divided into three groups, Belgium is part of the group with average performances in 2018 and performs better than the European average.

UN indicator: the selected indicator does not correspond to any monitoring indicator for the SDGs but is related to target 11.6 which calls for a reduction in the negative environmental impact of cities, including noise nuisance.

Sources

More information is available in French and Dutch.