ETC/ATNI Report 4/2019: Analysis of changes on noise exposure 2007 – 2012 - 2017

This report analyses changes in population exposure to noise in agglomerations, in major roads, major rails and major airports under the Environmental Noise Directive for which data is available and completed in 2012 and 2017, up to 1st of January 2019.

06 Feb 2020

Prepared by: Jaume Fons-Esteve, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)

Changes of numbers of people exposed to noise during the period 2007-2017 are strongly dependent on the noise source, which reflects different patterns of emissions and different types of noise management.
Number of people exposed to noise inside agglomerations decreased over the period 2007-2017. However, the observed decrease was more pronounced in 2007-2012 (ranging from 30% decrease of population exposed to road noise, to 11% decrease of population exposed to airports noise). In the latest period (2012-2017), decrease of the size of population exposed was less marked (e.g. 15% decrease of population exposed to industrial noise), or even increasing for population exposed to airports and road noise (8%).
Number of people exposed to noise from major airports has slightly decreased between 2007 and 2017, with two contrasting periods. In 2007-2012 there was a significant reduction of the number of people exposed (about 32% decrease). The trend in the following period, 2012-2017, was an 18% increase.
The ubiquity of the road network in most European countries is reflected in the trends in number of people exposed to noise from major roads. While aggregated figures for Europe show that number of people exposed to noise decreases, some countries have an opposite trend clearly determined by the increase of the length of the road network.
In contrast to noise from major roads, number of people exposed to railway noise increased about 2% in the period 2012-2017. Changes on the length of major rail have no impact on the number of people exposed. The particularities of the rail system (controlled traffic with very specific regulations) have not resulted in a more efficient management of noise.