Environmental Noise Directive (END)




Directive 2002/49/EC: historical overview, aims and main features


Directive 2002/49/EC relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise was adopted in 2002. Directive 2002/49/EC did not have many antecedents. Since the mid-1970s, European Union (further in the text – EU) had identified noise as a serious environmental problem, but quickly qualified it as a local problem. This had the consequence that EU institutions were (reluctantly) disposed to look at noise issues as a problem which concerned EU to the extent that noisy products - vehicles, airplanes, machinery, motor boats, - were traded and circulated freely within EU.

Legislative standards could then be introduced in order to reduce the level of noise which emanated from the specific product. However, the problem of noise as it affected residential areas, urban agglomerations or individual citizens, was considered a problem that was, according to the subsidiarity principle,      Click here for more information! a matter for Member States to deal with. EU, therefore, concentrated its activities as looking at fixing uniform sound levels (emission limit values for noise) for new products, but left the care to minimise the impact of these sound levels on humans very largely to the Member States.