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What to look out for as the EU referendum results come in

Your hour-by-hour guide.

It’s that time again, folks:  your handy guide from the New Statesman to when you can expect results from the European referendum and what they mean for the overall results.

First: a disclaimer. We haven’t had a referendum on European membership since 1975. We have no idea what turnout will be and crucially if turnout will be wildly different throughout the country. The margin for error here is large, but these are useful hitching-posts throughout the night – or, at least, as useful as I can make them at this stage.

22:00: Close of poll. There will not be a lot to report on at this stage.

There won’t be an exit poll although I imagine a few of the pollsters might decide to chance their arms on doing an on-the-day one. However, these are very far from the all-singing, all-dancing exit polls that the BBC, Sky and ITV pay for on election night and are much, much less reliable. So don’t start celebrating/mourning/selling sterling just because Survation or whoever suggest that we’ve voted to Leave.

My advice is to use this time to stock up on vital supplies: fast food, dips, fizzy drinks and hard liquor. (And also, given the increasingly Leavy-y tilt of the polls, canned goods and bottled water.) Also open the New Statesman liveblog and switch onto ITV. I will be popping up on both throughout the night.

23:00: There’s an old joke from Spitting Image that will be appropriate at this time. “Nothing has happened,” opines the Conservative early on in election night. “That’s not true,” exclaims his Labour counterpart, “A lot has happened.” “It’s the same old two-party story,” sighs the Liberal Democrat, “Actually, a little bit has happened.”

Tell it at home and have them rolling in the aisles.

0:00: Results from Gibraltar and the Isles of Scilly will come in. Although the actual numbers of votes are very small, in percentage terms this ought to be Remain’s high watermark. As far as victory margins are concerned, it will be all downhill from here.

00:30: Sunderland and Newcastle-upon-Tyne will declare. Leave should be well clear of Remain in Sunderland if Brexit is indeed going to happen. Anything short of a seven-point gap between Leave and Remain in Sunderland is very good news for Britain Stronger In Europe.  Newcastle is finely balanced but ought to be better for Remain than Sunderland.

It is entirely possible that Leave could lead at this point and still lose.

00:45: Remain ought to get a big win out of City of London – that is, just the area around London Wall and the City, not the whole city, which will declare in stages throughout the night. London’s financial district has just 7,000 permament residents but they trend Remain. 

The bigger prize in terms of votes Swindon, a marginal in general elections but a fortress as far as Brexit is concerned. At this point in the evening, I'd expect a Leave lead.

01:00: Oldham and Darlington will declare. It’s not necessarily all over for Leave if they don’t have an overall lead at this point but it would be a bad sign for them if they weren’t ahead at this point.

01:30: Peak Leave? In percentage terms, at any rate, they should be well up by the time that Basildon, Hartlepool, North Hertfordshire, Stockport, Salford and Merthyr Tydfil  declare. Only the tiny, in population size if not in length of name Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar is likely to return a Remain lead, and that should be more than cancelled out by results elsewhere.

I can’t say with absolute certainty that if Leave don’t lead at this point in the night they’ve lost, but their chances of victory will be narrowed if they aren’t out in front at this point.

02:00: The first big batch of Scottish results, from Clackmannanshire, North Ayrshire, Stirling, the Shetland Islands, East Ayshire and Angus ought to get Remain back in contention. Also likely to run up the score for Remain: Wandsworth, Westminster and Warwick.

Keeping Leave in the race should be Denbighshire and Blaenau Gwent, Neath Port Talbot, Dover, Pendle, Hart, Tamworth, South Tyneside, and Wrexham.

Anyone with a clear lead at this point can feel cheerful but not home and dry just yet.

02:30: We should start to be able to say who’s winning the referendum around about now, as areas around the country start to declare. Wth looking out for Crawley, Enfield, while Castle Point is in contention to provide Leave with one of its largest margins of victory.

03:00: Results will be coming thick and fast, including Jeremy Corbyn’s stomping ground of Islington. The winner should be clear unless it’s a nail-biting finish although I doubt the broadcasters will feel safe in saying so for a few hours. Oxford, one of the contenders for Remain’s biggest victory margin of the night, declares.

03:30:  Edinburgh and Cambridge will duke it out to be the biggest Remain backers. Elsewhere, expect conversations to turn to David Cameron’s coming reshuffle or the looming Boris Johnson premiership depending on which sideis ahead at this point.

04:00: My birthplace of Tower Hamlets is increasingly riddled with hipsters, which means it should give Remain a fairly big win. But the big contender for Remain’s best area – at a tempting 16/1 with the bookmakers – is Brighton and Hove.

04:30: The bulk of Britain’s remaining big cities to bolster my metropolitan snobbery by voting for Remain by a heavy margin unless it is a landside for Leave.

05:00: Most of London will have declared by this point – if it is close, this could be the moment when Remain wins, or it could be the moment when the many balding men of Brexit can breathe a sigh of relief.

06:00: Allegedly Bristol will declare at this point. Bristol counts are notoriously slow so I am dubious. We will know who has won by this point, regardless.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.

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The deafening killer - why noise will be the next great pollution scandal

A growing body of evidence shows that noise can have serious health impacts too. 

Our cities are being poisoned by a toxin that surrounds us day and night. It eats away at our brains, hurts our hearts, clutches at our sleep, and gnaws at the quality of our daily lives.

Hardly a silent killer, it gets short shrift compared to the well-publicised terrors of air pollution and sugars food. It is the dull, thumping, stultifying drum-beat of perpetual noise.

The score that accompanies city life is brutal and constant. It disrupts the everyday: The coffee break ruined by the screech of a line of double decker buses braking at the lights. The lawyer’s conference call broken by drilling as she makes her way to the office. The writer’s struggle to find a quiet corner to pen his latest article.

For city-dwellers, it’s all-consuming and impossible to avoid. Construction, traffic, the whirring of machinery, the neighbour’s stereo. Even at home, the beeps and buzzes made by washing machines, fridges, and phones all serve to distract and unsettle.

But the never-ending noisiness of city life is far more than a problem of aesthetics. A growing body of evidence shows that noise can have serious health impacts too. Recent studies have linked noise pollution to hearing loss, sleep deprivation, hypertension, heart disease, brain development, and even increased risk of dementia.

One research team compared families living on different stories of the same building in Manhattan to isolate the impact of noise on health and education. They found children in lower, noisier floors were worse at reading than their higher-up peers, an effect that was most pronounced for children who had lived in the building for longest.

Those studies have been replicated for the impact of aircraft noise with similar results. Not only does noise cause higher blood pressure and worsens quality of sleep, it also stymies pupils trying to concentrate in class.

As with many forms of pollution, the poorest are typically the hardest hit. The worst-off in any city often live by busy roads in poorly-insulated houses or flats, cheek by jowl with packed-in neighbours.

The US Department of Transport recently mapped road and aircraft noise across the United States. Predictably, the loudest areas overlapped with some of the country’s most deprived. Those included the south side of Atlanta and the lowest-income areas of LA and Seattle.

Yet as noise pollution grows in line with road and air traffic and rising urban density, public policy has turned a blind eye.

Council noise response services, formally a 24-hour defence against neighbourly disputes, have fallen victim to local government cuts. Decisions on airport expansion and road development pay scant regard to their audible impact. Political platforms remain silent on the loudest poison.

This is odd at a time when we have never had more tools at our disposal to deal with the issue. Electric Vehicles are practically noise-less, yet noise rarely features in the arguments for their adoption. Just replacing today’s bus fleet would transform city centres; doing the same for taxis and trucks would amount to a revolution.

Vehicles are just the start. Millions were spent on a programme of “Warm Homes”; what about “Quiet Homes”? How did we value the noise impact in the decision to build a third runway at Heathrow, and how do we compensate people now that it’s going ahead?

Construction is a major driver of decibels. Should builders compensate “noise victims” for over-drilling? Or could regulation push equipment manufacturers to find new ways to dampen the sound of their kit?

Of course, none of this addresses the noise pollution we impose on ourselves. The bars and clubs we choose to visit or the music we stick in our ears. Whether pumping dance tracks in spin classes or indie rock in trendy coffee shops, people’s desire to compensate for bad noise out there by playing louder noise in here is hard to control for.

The Clean Air Act of 1956 heralded a new era of city life, one where smog and grime gave way to clear skies and clearer lungs. That fight still goes on today.

But some day, we will turn our attention to our clogged-up airwaves. The decibels will fall. #Twitter will give way to twitter. And every now and again, as we step from our homes into city life, we may just hear the sweetest sound of all. Silence.

Adam Swersky is a councillor in Harrow and is cabinet member for finance. He writes in a personal capacity.