ETC/ATNI Report 07/2020: Noise Action Plans. Impact of END on managing exposure to noise in Europe. Update of Noise Action Plans 2019.

The Environmental Noise Directive (END) sets legally binding obligations to reduce and manage environmental noise. The competent authorities have to draw up action plans for major transport sources and the largest urban areas based upon noise mapping results. This report provides an overview of the reported noise action plans up to January 2020, and the type of measures implemented to reduce environmental noise.

20 May 2021

Prepared by:

Jaume Fons-Esteve (UAB), Núria Blanes (UAB), Francisco Domingues (UAB), Maria José Ramos (UAB) and Miquel Sáinz de la Maza (UAB)

Based upon noise mapping results, the competent authorities have to draw up action plans for major
transport sources and the largest urban areas. Furthermore, areas of high acoustic quality, in other
words, free from noise pollution, should also be protected by appropriate action plans. While the
requirements are set in the Directive, the specific types of measures included in these action plans
are decided at Member State level.
Data on action plans submitted by countries under the END, up to January 2020, show that noise
reduction at the source (e.g. improving road and rail surfaces, air traffic management, reducing
speed limits, retrofitting, managing traffic flows) is an extensively reported mitigation measure for all sources of noise inside urban areas and major airports. Measures at the path, namely noise barriers, are most frequently reported for major road and major rails (outside urban areas). Land use and urban planning, which are linked to city design (e.g. protecting sensitive receivers using street design and providing quiet zones) are also reported for all noise sources. Still, they represent a small percentage of the mitigation measures generally chosen to address noise problems.
Although action plans covering the largest urban areas and major transport sources should have been drawn up in accordance with the END reporting cycle, there is a significant number of countries for which such plans are still missing.