The March4Tipp campaign group is conducting a programme of measuring the adverse environmental effects from the heavy N24 traffic through Tipperary town.
Results from traffic noise monitoring have revealed very serious noise levels.
Noise levels equivalent to a working chainsaw were measured on the Main Street. Noise levels that are damaging to hearing (85 decibels and above) were measured 121 times in one day alone.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that average traffic noise levels above 53 decibels (dB) can cause adverse health effects.
March4Tipp found that average noise levels from 6 different sites were up to 67% above the World Health Organisation guidelines. Measurements were taken every second and on one day the noise never went below the WHO level.
On another day, the noise level only went below the WHO limit for 3 seconds out of 8 hours of monitoring.
Padraig Culbert, an activist with March4Tipp said, “research by the World Health Organisation found strong evidence of cardiovascular and metabolic effects of environmental noise.
“The main effects include increased stress levels and increased blood pressure. There are also links with ischemic heart disease and an increased risk of stroke. We now know that the noise levels in Tipperary Town from N24 traffic are well above the levels that can cause serious adverse health effects”.
“The effects of high levels of traffic noise are well researched and well known. The alarming thing is that nobody seems to be monitoring noise levels from the N24 in Tipperary town or checking their effects on the health of the community.
The heavy traffic of the N24 carves a path right through our community and nobody seems to care what damage it is doing to our health”.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland monitoring shows that there are 7,000 traffic movements on the N24 through Tipperary Town on a daily basis. Tipperary Town needs a ring road in the short term, to rid the town of this health-impacting traffic as soon as possible” he said.
March4Tipp County Councillor Annemarie Ryan said that the economic impact of the N24 on the town is well known, “but we don’t know the full health impact of the traffic, and we need to know. These noise levels are proven to damage people’s health and people are living all along the N24 route through town.
“We deserve to know what price we might be paying for the Government’s failure to bypass the town. The Government has failed to get the traffic out of our town we need a ring road to get the heavy traffic away from residential areas. This has to happen soon, because the town can’t wait 10 to 15 years for a bypass. Who knows what damage to people’s health will result if action isn’t taken soon?”
March4Tipp is also measuring air pollution levels. The group says it has measured substantial breaches of pollution levels for Nitrogen Dioxide and particulates (PM10 and PM2.5) but wants to complete its programme of monitoring before reporting the data, which should occur in the coming weeks