Noise pollution (i57)

In 2021, the proportion of the population that reported suffering from noise from neighbours or the street was 14.5% in Belgium. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, this figure must decrease. Between 2004 and 2019, the trend is favourable (assessment of November 2021; without taking into account 2020, because the Covid-19 pandemic impacted data collection).

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Noise pollution - Belgium and international comparison

percentage of population

 2004200520102013201520182019202020212018//20042018//20132021//2019
Belgium24.923.318.917.518.017.716.014.514.3-2.40.2-5.5
EU27----20.619.118.318.217.317.2-----1.0--
//: Average Growth Rates

break in series: BE 2019; BE 2020 data collection impacted by Covid-19 pandemic

Statbel; Eurostat (2021), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_mddw01, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 20/10/2021).

Noise pollution by sex - Belgium

percentage of population

 200520102013201520182019202020212018//20052018//20132021//2019
females24.019.418.018.817.615.714.514.4-2.4-0.4-4.2
males22.518.217.117.318.016.414.414.2-1.71.0-6.9
//: Average Growth Rates

break in series: 2019; 2020 data collection impacted by Covid-19 pandemic

Statbel (2021), direct communication, 21/06/2021.

Noise pollution by income - Belgium

percentage of population

 2004200520102013201520182019202020212018//20042018//20132021//2019
below 60% of median equivalised income30.326.924.122.526.023.719.818.620.1-1.71.00.8
above 60% of median equivalised income24.122.618.016.616.616.615.413.813.5-2.60.0-6.4
//: Average Growth Rates

break in series: 2019; 2020 data collection impacted by Covid-19 pandemic

Statbel; Eurostat (2021), European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), ilc_mddw01, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 20/10/2021); Statbel (2022), direct communication 20/9/2022.

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. 2004 is the first year for which European harmonised data have been collected to calculate the indicator. 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.

From 2019 onwards, the survey methodology has been thoroughly reviewed for better accuracy. In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic impacted data collection. This makes it difficult to compare the results of SILC 2020 with those of previous years. (Statbel, 2021). Therefore, they are not used to calculate and evaluate the long-term trend.

Goal: the share of the population suffering from noise must decrease.

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).

Therefore, he share of the population that reported suffering from noise from neighbours or the street must decrease.

International comparison: the share of the population suffering from noise is just below the European average in Belgium. Between 2010 and 2020, this indicator decreased from 20.6% to 17.6% for the EU27 and from 18.9% to 14.5% for Belgium. When Member States are divided into three groups, Belgium is part of the group with average performances in 2019 and performs better than the European average. In that year, Estonia ranked first with 8.2% and Malta last with 28.3%.

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.