Next Article in Journal
An Epidemiological Prospective Study of Children’s Health and Annoyance Reactions to Aircraft Noise Exposure in South Africa
Previous Article in Journal
Response to Baverstock, K. Comments on Rithidech, K.N.; et al. Lack of Genomic Instability in Bone Marrow Cells of SCID Mice Exposed Whole-Body to Low-Dose Radiation. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 1356–1377.
Previous Article in Special Issue
The Soundscape Quality in Some Urban Parks in Milan, Italy
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(7), 2741-2759; doi:10.3390/ijerph10072741

Quiet as an Environmental Value: A Contrast between Two Legislative Approaches

Noise Measurement Services Pty Ltd, Brisbane 4051, Australia
Department of Psychology, Auckland University of Technology, North Shore Auckland 0627, New Zealand
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 March 2013 / Revised: 20 June 2013 / Accepted: 24 June 2013 / Published: 3 July 2013
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [469 KB, uploaded 19 June 2014]   |  


This paper examines the concept of “quiet” as an “environmental value” in terms of amenity and wellbeing from a legislative context. Critical review of two pieces of environmental legislation from Australia and New Zealand forms the basis of the paper. The Australian legislation is Queensland’s Environmental Protection Act, and the New Zealand legislation is that nation’s Resource Management Act. Quiet is part of the psychoacoustic continuum between a tranquil and an intrusively noisy sound environment. As such, quiet possesses intrinsic value in terms of overall sound within the environment (soundscape) and to individuals and communities. In both pieces of legislation, guidance, either directly or indirectly, is given to “maximum” sound levels to describe the acoustic environment. Only in Queensland is wellbeing and amenity described as environmental values, while in the New Zealand approach, amenity is identified as the core value to defend, but guidance is not well established. Wellbeing can be related to degrees of quietness and the absence of intrusive noise, the character of sound within an environment (“soundscape”), as well as the overall level of sound. The quality of life experienced by individuals is related to that person’s physical and mental health, sense of amenity and wellbeing. These characteristics can be described in terms of subjective and objective measures, though legislation does not always acknowledge the subjective.
Keywords: amenity; environmental legislation; environmental values; quiet; soundscape; wellbeing amenity; environmental legislation; environmental values; quiet; soundscape; wellbeing
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Thorne, R.; Shepherd, D. Quiet as an Environmental Value: A Contrast between Two Legislative Approaches. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 2741-2759.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top