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Noise levels (2017)

Request

  • Any health & safety assessments related to noise, regarding the refurbishment of Big Ben/The Elizabeth Tower?
  • Any datasets of noise level data collected from Big Ben, eg, monitoring decibel levels, that have been produced in in 2015, 2016 or 2017?

 

Response

  • Any health & safety assessments related to noise, regarding the refurbishment of Big Ben/The Elizabeth Tower?


Information relating to your request is held by the House of Commons. Please find below an excerpt from the pre-construction information related to the refurbishment of the Elizabeth Tower, which identified the potential noise risks arising from the chiming of the bells.

PED_HS_Risks_Construction PED_HS_Risks_Construction_Risk_Reduction_Measures
Quarter bells chime at 15 minute intervals/ Big Ben chimes at 1 hour intervals Bells to be stopped for the duration of the construction.

In order to comply with the Noise at Work Regulations, contractors working on the refurbishment will undertake regular noise assessments of their work to ensure that they are correctly managing the risk.
Please note that PED stands for “Parliamentary Estates Department”, which has now been replaced by Strategic Estates and the Parliamentary Maintenance Services Team.

  • Any datasets of noise level data collected from Big Ben, eg, monitoring decibel levels, that have been produced in in 2015, 2016 or 2017?

This information is not held by the House of Commons. There are no records of noise level datasets collected in 2015, 2016 or 2017 as described in your request.
However, it may be helpful to know that a noise survey was completed in 2010 to establish the risk to persons working or visiting the belfry; it confirmed that the noise levels were in excess of the exposure limit values in the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005. As there have been no significant changes to the environment since then, this survey has not been repeated.