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Noisy cattle grids threaten a good night's sleep

Published: Mon 26 Sep 2016

Scientists from the Universities of Bradford and Leeds have measured how noisy cattle grids disrupt the peace and quiet of adjacent residential properties.

Their findings, which have been published in the journal Applied Acoustics, should enable owners of these devices to implement maintenance and speed control measures that significantly reduce annoyance.

The findings of the study show that excessively high levels of noise can be emitted when vehicles impact cattle grids especially a poorly secured or maintained grid. Measurements revealed that even on well maintained and secured cattle grids closest to residential properties the maximum noise generated significantly exceeded the World Health Organisation’s guidelines for night time community noise exposure.

A further finding was that these noise levels reduced with decreasing speed. Hence the recommendation that traffic calming measures should be considered in the vicinity of these installations close to residential properties. Annoyance created by the noise of cattle grids has been periodically reported but this is the first study of its kind to be included in the scientific literature.

“For people living within 100 metres of a cattle grid noise and vibration can be a serious problem that may lead to disrupted sleep patterns and the inability to experience peace and quiet within their gardens. In addition, the noise from cattle grids can compromise the enjoyment of recreation in an otherwise tranquil environment,” said Greg Watts, Professor of Environmental Acoustics at the University of Bradford.

The research, which was a response to local concerns and an increasing number of cattle grid planning applications being referred to the Secretary of State, took place over approximately 18 months and was carried out at five sites in West Yorkshire (two on Baildon Moor and three on or adjacent to Ilkley Moor) and two in Cumbria (on the A684 in the vicinity of Sedbergh).

Noise and disturbance caused by vehicles crossing cattle grids – comparison of installations

By Greg WATTS[1]; Rob PHEASANT[2]; Amir KHAN[3]

1,3 University of Bradford, UK; 2 University of Leeds, UK

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