Campaigners will be making a noise today (Tuesday) about the need for peace and tranquillity to protect our health and well being. Since the 1960s the area of England affected by noise and visual intrusion has doubled.  Parts of our cities are now 10 times noisier than a decade ago. 
In a noisier world, peace and tranquillity are becoming harder to find. In such a world where can we find spiritual and mental refreshment? How can we protect places that provide this and what should Government be doing to help?
These questions will be at the heart of the debate at The Quiet Conference, a ground-breaking event to be held in the unique surroundings of Lambeth Palace on Tuesday 29 April. 
NOTE FOR EDITORS
The Quiet Conference is being organised jointly by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) , the UK Noise Association  and The Quiet Garden Movement . The conference will be opened by the writer, broadcaster and film-maker, Jonathan Dimbleby.
The keynote address will be given by the Noise Minister, Jonathan Shaw MP. Other speakers will include: Peter Ainsworth MP, Martin Horwood MP and Abbot Christopher Jamison, host of BBC Television’s The Monastery.
The Quiet Conference is being held in a year in which the Government will consult on its first ever National Noise Strategy, and just months before Ministers are expected to publish their noise action plans, in line with EU requirements. In drawing up these plans, Governments have been asked to pay special attention to the preservation and expansion of quiet areas. 
Opening the conference Jonathan Dimbleby said:
‘I am delighted to be able to open this unique and exciting event. The idea of a Quiet Conference perhaps sounds counter-intuitive! But the issues we will be discussing at Lambeth Palace demand that we make at least something of a noise. The quiet life is an important part of quality of life for people wherever they live – of course there is a place for noise and excitement, but we also need quiet, calm and relaxation too.’
John Stewart, the Chair of the UK Noise Association, said:
‘Quiet areas are more important than ever before. Surveys show that parts of our cities are ten times noisier than they were a decade ago. The Government has got to get serious about quiet areas but it has also got to get serious about tackling noise more generally.’
Shaun Spiers, Chief Executive of CPRE, said:
‘Our groundbreaking maps in 2006 showed that tranquillity is a diminishing resource across England, with areas of deep tranquillity now small, isolated islands. Since then, we have found that the scale of intrusion from urban development and infrastructure has also increased dramatically in recent decades. We now believe that more than 50% of England’s land area is disturbed by urban intrusion.
‘We recognise that development is needed, but tranquillity matters too, and it’s time the Government did more to protect intangible, but critically important, aspects of people’s life experience.’
The Revd Philip Roderick, the founder and director of The Quiet Garden Movement, said:
‘We will be using the beautiful setting of Lambeth Palace to illustrate how important quiet areas are for physical and spiritual renewal. Quiet areas can be a transforming experience.’ 
The conference will conclude with a presentation by Dr Arline Bronzaft, researcher and writer, who has been the key adviser to successive Mayors of New York as they introduced policies which resulted in significant improvements in the noise environment. We hope she will be able to use her international experience to point the way to a future where quiet and tranquillity are at the heart of environmental policies in the UK.
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NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. CPRE’s tranquillity maps (2006) are based on hard data on noise, development and physical surroundings at a very local level combined with extensive surveys of what adds to or detracts from people’s experience of tranquillity. Every 500 metre by 500 metre square in England is given its own tranquillity score. The spectrum of colours on the maps ranges from deep red – within towns and cities and along major roads – through orange and yellow to a rich green in the most unspoilt areas of deep countryside, which have big views and little man-made noise. CPRE’s intrusion maps (2007) show that currently 50% of England is disturbed by the sight or sound of nearby roads, urban areas and other major infrastructure. Copies of both CPRE’s tranquillity and intrusion maps are available at: www.cpre.org.uk/news/media-centre.
2. Sheffield University, 26 July 2001, see: www.ukna.org.uk. This research project was cited as unique for the UK and focused on residential noise and measured noise levels at various Sheffield city centre locations over a ten-year period. In some areas, noise levels had increased by as much as 10 times.
3. The Quiet Conference, organised by CPRE, the UK Noise Association and The Quiet Garden Movement, is being held at Lambeth Palace, London on Tuesday 29 April. The full conference programme is available on request from CPRE’s press office: 020 7981 2880. The press are invited to attend. Please contact CPRE’s press office (020 7981 2880) for accreditation.
4. CPRE, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, is a charity which promotes the beauty, tranquillity and diversity of rural England. We advocate positive solutions for the long-term future of the countryside. Founded in 1926, we have 60,000 supporters and a branch in every county. President: Bill Bryson. Patron: Her Majesty The Queen. www.cpre.org.uk
5. The UK Noise Association is the country’s leading lobbying organisation on noise matters.
6. The Quiet Garden Movement is an international movement founded in 1992. We encourage the provision of quiet spaces for reflection and stillness in private homes and gardens, churches, schools, prisons, and hospitals. There are currently over 200 Quiet Gardens and Quiet Spaces in the UK and over 100 overseas.
7. The EU Noise Directive required member states to draw up noise maps (initially for conurbations of 250,000 or more inhabitants, plus the busiest roads, rail lines and airports) in 2007. It now requires member states to produce action plans by July 2008 to show how they will deal with the noisiest areas identified in the noise maps. A particular requirement of the action plans is that they include measures to preserve and enhance quiet areas. This conference aims to influence that process.
8. The day will include a presentation by Jill Lewis, the former Head of Offender Management at Bedford Prison on the beneficial effect on prisoners and prison staff of the two Quiet Gardens at Bedford Prison.