Residents of most of the major towns and cities in England will soon be able to see just how noisy their areas are.
Software will calculate the level of noise in different areas
Maps showing noise levels in over 20 different locations have been commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Colour-graded noise maps of London and Birmingham have already been produced.
The maps, which can help planners manage and reduce noise levels, form part of the development of a National Ambient Noise Strategy by 2007.
The maps are produced by computer software that calculates the noise level at specific points as it spreads out from the sources of sound such as roads, railways and airports.
The areas to be covered by the expansion of the Noise Mapping England Project include: Bristol, Bournemouth, Brighton, Reading, Portsmouth, Southampton, Southend, Leicester, Nottingham, Coventry, Stoke on Trent, Hull, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Birkenhead, Blackpool, Preston, Tyneside and Teesside, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire.
"The potential uses are enormous," said Local Environmental Quality Minister Ben Bradshaw.
"Unwanted noise has probably affected us all at one time or another. It can cause stress and annoyance, interrupt conversation and disturb sleep.
"By creating more of these maps we can help government, local authorities, planners and the public better understand noise levels and work more efficiently to reduce the number of people who are exposed to high levels of noise."
Birmingham City Council developed the first comprehensive noise map for a major UK city in 1999 as part of a pilot project backed by Defra. The London noise map was completed last year.
NOISE MAP OF CENTRAL LONDON
Maps like this can be generated using postcodes, Ordnance Survey grid references and street names