ETC/ATNI Report 8/2019: Noise Action Plans. Managing exposure to noise in Europe.

The Environmental Noise Directive (END, Directive 2002/49/EC) sets legally binding obligations for reduction and management of environmental noise. Based upon noise mapping results, action plans have to be drawn up for major transport sources and the largest urban areas. However, the specific types of measures included in these action plans are decided at Member State level. This report provides an overview of the reported noise action plans up to April 2019, and the type of measures implemented to reduce environmental noise.

06 Feb 2020

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

The Environmental Noise Directive (END) sets legally binding obligations for reduction and management of environmental noise. Based upon noise mapping results, action plans have to be drawn up for major transport sources and the largest urban areas. Furthermore, where areas are found to be of a high acoustic quality, in other words, free from noise pollution, they should also be protected by appropriate action plans. However, 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 April 2019, 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 and 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 but represent a small percentage of the mitigation measures generally chosen to address noise problems. Other less cost-effective mitigation measures employed to manage noise are those related to the path of the noise, such as introducing noise barriers, or those related to the receiver, such as providing home insulation.
Although action plans covering the largest urban areas and major transport sources should have been drawn up in accordance with the END, there is a significant number of countries for which such plans are still missing.