ETC/ATNI Report 5/2020: Measures to manage and reduce noise impacts: opportunities and challenges

After 18 years of its implementation of the Environmental Noise Directive (END) (EU, 2002), trends between 2012 and 2017 suggest that the number of people exposed to levels of noise considered harmful to human health has not significantly been reduced. Achieving a reduction of the negative impacts of noise pollution is essential within the context of the EU Action Plan: 'Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil'. This report provides the compilation of a questionnaire sent to EIONET intending to identify the political, contextual, environmental, economic and societal challenges that countries, regions and cities face when planning and implementing measures for reducing the negative impacts of noise. About 147 answers have been provided covering 23 countries: 16 from EU27 and 23 from EEA38.

03 Feb 2022

Jaume Fons-Esteve, Núria Blanes

Prepared by:

Jaume Fons-Esteve, Núria Blanes (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona - UAB)

The answers reflect that the Environmental Noise Directive was an important milestone for integrating noise reduction into the political agenda. There are positive factors that facilitate the implementation of the noise reduction policies like the public opinion and awareness, technology, digitalisation or the governance. On the other site, some factors undermine the reduction of environmental noise like the size of the urban areas, overcrowding or the increased mobility demand. Financial limitation is considered the main obstacle.

 Regarding future opportunities and challenges, it is very often mentioned that the instruments are there but require the political will to implement them. In this context, the newly published zero-pollution action plan aims to achieve a 30 % reduction in the number of people chronically disturbed due to noise from transport by 2030. There are mixed feelings about the impact of this target, very often considered not realistic.