Concerning noise emitted by the major sources, in particular road and rail vehicle , infrastructure, aircraft, outdoor and industrial equipment , mobile machinery and Ports.
Environmental noise, caused by traffic and industrial and recreational activities, is considered to be a significant local environmental problem in Europe. It is estimated that millions of people suffer from noise levels that scientists and health experts consider unacceptable. The limitation of noise from transport vehicles and certain types of equipment is a necessary step towards reducing noise pollution in the European Community. The main focus of European Union noise policy is on noise abatement through the use of mandatory technical standards for products.
The most important legal tools consist of a set of directives establishing noise emission limits for particular products: motor vehicles, motorcycles, tyres, aeroplanes, household appliances and outdoor equipment. In addition, there are two important new directives: The first provides for the imposition of noise-related operating restrictions at airports by the following Directives:
Directive 2002/30/EC - Directive 83/206/EEC - Directive 89/629/EEC- Directive 92/14/EEC
The second Directive 2002/49/EC END provides for the creation of noise maps and action plans in order to reduce environmental noise. The following categories of noise emissions from products are already covered by Community legislation:
Directive 2007/34/EC permissible sound level and the exhaust system of motor vehicles - Revised by Regulation 540/2014
Directive 2007/37EC type approval of motor vehicles and their trailers
Directive 2001/43/EC Tyre Noise: legal requirements
Directive 92/23/EEC Tyre Noise Test and Wet Grip Test
Directive 2002/24/EC Directive type-approval of two or three-wheel motor vehicles
Directive 2005/88/EC Equipment For Use Outdoors
Maximum Exhaust Sound Level of Motor Cycle UNECE Regulation 41
Motor Cycle EU Regulation 168/2013
Motor Vehicle EU Regulation 540/2014
Further reading: Handbook on the Implementation of EC Environmental Legislation
That produced in the neighbourhood such as noise from pubs, commercial or local industry, construction sites, and road traffic.
The importance of effective procedures and action to address problems when they arise is clear and local authorities generally have the primary responsibility for controlling neighbourhood noise, whether it is as the environmental health service, the Local Planning Authority or housing service.
“The top priority from the public’s perspective in a noise incident is time; both that taken to investigate the initial complaint and the time it takes to resolve the dispute. There is a strong sense, among noise sufferers and stakeholders alike, that the process is laborious and difficult, with repeated warnings but no satisfactory outcome.
Face-to-face contact with the council or police when the complaint is made, alongside feedback on what has been done about it, is desirable and can significantly improve client satisfaction with the service received.”
In European countries for certain types of noise complaint the police authorities may play a larger role. The use of the police for investigating complaints provide greater coverage of an area than environmental health authorities, and provide a framework for an out-of-hours service.
However, in more complex cases, noise measurements and specialist acoustics knowledge may be needed, and these skills generally come from the environmental health authority. Most, but not all countries have mediation services on offer, but some are not free and are seldom used for neighbour noise disputes.
That produced by a person’s neighbours
Neighbour noise in particular is an almost inevitable consequence of urban living and is highly dependent on standards of behaviour and personal consideration. Consequently it is found to cause problems everywhere, although it is likely that the size of the problem varies significantly across Europe depending on local circumstances.
In some Scandinavian countries, for example, high standards of thermal insulation and noise insulation may partly account for an apparent lower level of concern with neighbour noise, particularly in terms of the administrative system which does not appear highly tuned to the issue.
In southern countries, such as Spain, the Mediterranean lifestyle may have led to a greater tolerance of neighbour and neighbourhood noise, perhaps due to greater intrusion of noise from other sources, such as transportation, into homes through open windows and poorer insulation.
Neighbour noise is considered synonymous with a lack of consideration. This ‘consideration’ factor is critical in understanding the dynamics of disputes and demonstrates the importance of the social context of noise as opposed to its purely physical attributes.
Further reading: Neighbour and Neighbourhood Noise - A Review of European Legislation