Environmental Noise Directive (END)




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


The declared aim of Directive 2002/49, (Article 1) was

"to define a common approach intended to avoid, prevent or reduce on a prioritised basis the harmful effects, including annoyance, due to exposure to environmental noise" .

Thus, Directive 2002/49/EC did not itself intend to reduce noise levels. Rather it intended to create a common language as regards, for example, the measuring methods, placement of the noise assessment points, places of high noise intensity, and definitions of day-evening-night level of noise. This framework character of Directive 2002/49/EC was confirmed by Article 1(2) which requested European Commission to submit, by mid-2006, appropriate legislative proposals to reduce noise emitted by the major sources, "in particular" road and rail vehicles and infrastructure, aircraft, outdoor and industrial equipment and mobile machinery. Directive 2002/49/EC was thus clearly intended to be the first step of EU noise abatement policy.

Directive 2002/49/EC defined environmental noise as unwanted or harmful outdoor sound created by human activities (Article 3(a)). This definition excluded noise caused by the exposed person himself, noise from domestic activities, and noise created by neighbours as well as noise at work places. Directive 2002/49/EC also defined the measuring of noise. Commission Directive 2015/996 fixed common methods of assessing noise exposure which will apply as of 2018, thus 16 years after the adoption of Directive 2002/49/EC. Click here for more information!