| [Download PDF]
|Year : 2012 | Volume
| Issue : 61 | Page : 307--312
Progress on noise policies from 2008 to 2011
Lawrence Finegold1, Dietrich Schwela2, Jacques Lambert3,
1 Finegold and SO, Consultants, 1167 Bournemouth Court, Centerville, Ohio 45459, USA
2 Department of Environment, University of York, Stockholm Environment Institute, York, United Kingdom
3 IFSTTAR-Transport and Environment Laboratory, 69675 BRON Cedex, France
Environment Department, University of York, Stockholm Environment Institute, Heslington, York
ICBEN Team 9, Noise Policy and Economics, provides an update on international progress on noise mitigation policies and strategies, best practices, and guidelines for environmental noise management for each ICBEN Congress. As described in this brief paper and in more detail in the associated paper prepared for the ICBEN 2011 Congress in London, there were a considerable amount of new relevant documents in many countries on these topics since the last ICBEN Congress in 2008. As before, much of this progress was made in the European Union, although other areas of the world demonstrated a continuing commitment to improvement on these issues, especially in Asia and North America. The Team 9 topics are particularly important because they embody the implementation of the results of the work of the other ICBEN International Noise Teams on the effects of noise exposure and, in addition, address the evolving and vital area of economics. The latter focus area includes topics such as cost-benefit analysis, which is crucial for governments to implement adequate and affordable noise mitigation policies. The ICBEN Team 9 review was prepared through inputs for the authors and through inputs by various Team 9 members. Interested readers are encouraged to read the more extensive Team 9 review paper available in the Proceedings of the ICBEN 2011 Congress.
|How to cite this article:|
Finegold L, Schwela D, Lambert J. Progress on noise policies from 2008 to 2011.Noise Health 2012;14:307-312
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Finegold L, Schwela D, Lambert J. Progress on noise policies from 2008 to 2011. Noise Health [serial online] 2012 [cited 2022 Nov 26 ];14:307-312
Available from: https://www.noiseandhealth.org/text.asp?2012/14/61/307/104899
Exposure to environmental noise may have significant adverse impacts on human health and the quality of life of millions of people throughout developed and developing countries.  Urbanization and the associated growth in population mobility have resulted in the intensification of environmental noise, particularly in densely populated areas. Many developed, mainly Western, countries and individual cities are now taking actions to enhance their institutional and technical capabilities to monitor and control noise exposure and implement preventive actions to reduce the risks that environmental noise poses to their citizens. This TEAM 9 review elaborates on the progress throughout 2008-2011 in the development of environmental noise policies by international organizations and major national governments.
Progress in Scientific Research
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization (WHO) provides scientific inputs to the noise policy-making process. Their reports need to be viewed as guidelines and recommendations which are not enforceable, rather than regulations. In amendment of the WHO Guidelines for Community Noise,  WHO-EURO in 2009 published "Night Noise Guidelines for Europe,"  specifically examining the issue of sleep disturbance and other effects of night-time aircraft overflights and providing noise guidelines for night-time noise, including recommendations for noise metrics and noise exposure criteria.
A more recent WHO report  on the burden of disease from environmental noise was prepared by experts in working groups convened by the WHO Regional Office for Europe to provide technical support to policy-makers and their advisers in the quantitative risk assessment of environmental noise, using evidence and data available in Europe on various health effects. The WHO report chapters summarize synthesized reviews of evidence on the relationship between environmental noise and specific health effects, including annoyance, cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbance, and tinnitus. For each outcome, the environmental burden of disease methodology, based on exposure-response relationship, exposure distribution, background prevalence of disease and disability weights of the outcome, is applied to calculate the burden of disease in terms of disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs).
International Institute of Noise Control Engineering
In 2011 the International Institute of Noise Control Engineering (I-INCE) published a report of its Technical Study Group 6 on environmental noise impact assessment.  The objective for this I-INCE Technical Study Group is to provide practical advice on noise management strategies for those involved with environmental noise management. The report provides guidance on performing an environmental noise impact analysis. In particular, it outlines a general process that is recommended to balance the positive effects of controlling exposure to environmental noise against the costs and technical feasibility of achieving effective noise control. This noise policy-related report addresses the major issues involved in performing environmental noise impact assessments and provides recommendations for a generic environmental noise impact analysis process which is recommended for use internationally in a more harmonized manner. 
In 2009 I-INCE published a review of the information on national-level approaches to control of environmental noise.  The report revealed that apart from a partial harmonization in the European Union (EU) national approaches to control of community noise are vastly different. Differences included the following:
Category of legislative documents;Nature of each document (emission or imission);Requirements for existing situations (retrofit), new installations, or both;Measure of exposure to noise for each noise source and its measurement method;Noise assessment method;Assessment time interval.
The most common descriptor of noise imission was based on time-averaged, A-frequency weighted sound level. The most economic and technically feasible approach to controlling noise in urban areas was considered to be the control of noise at the source through limits on noise emission.
European Environment Agency
Good practice guide on noise exposure and potential health effects
In October 2010 the European Environment Agency (EEA) published the outcome of work by its Expert Panel on Noise as a good practice guide on noise.  The EEA Expert Panel on Noise (EPoN) is a working group that supports the EEA and European Commission (EC) with the implementation and development of an effective noise policy for Europe. EPoN aims to build upon tasks delivered by previous working groups, particularly regarding the Environmental Noise Directive 2002/49/EC (END) relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise.  The main purpose of the good practice guide is to present current knowledge about the health effects of noise. The emphasis is to provide stakeholders with practical and validated tools to calculate health impacts of noise in strategic noise studies such as the action plans required by the END or any environmental impact statements. The good practice guide is intended to assist policymakers, competent authorities, and other interested parties in understanding and fulfilling the requirements of the END.
Noise observation and information service
The EEA has updated and improved its Noise Observation and Information Service for Europe (NOISE) database.  It now contains noise data for EEA member countries up to June 30, 2011. The data can be viewed in a user-friendly interactive map tool or can be downloaded in a variety of formats. For the first time, the map viewer also displays local noise contour maps for selected areas. Compiling information from 19 of the 32 EEA member countries, the NOISE database represents a major step toward a comprehensive pan-European service. Users of the NOISE database can view the extent of data reported in accordance with the END on a color-coded map.
European Network on Noise and Health
As described on their web site,  "The European network on noise and health (ENNAH) network is funded by the EU to establish a research network of experts on noise and health in Europe. The network brings together 33 European research centres to establish future research directions and policy needs for noise and health in Europe. The Network will focus on the study of environmental noise sources, in particular transport noise, as well as emergent sources of noise such as noise from wind farms and low frequency noise. The network will facilitate high level science communication and encourage productive interdisciplinary discussion and exchange." ENNAH has the aim of influencing future EU policy by recommending research priorities on noise and health. The basic research work is now done and the final meeting of the ENNAH took place in July 2011. The final report is presently under review and planned to be published this year.
International consortium on noise issues in emerging and developing countries
As significant improvements in predominantly Western noise policies have taken place, there is a concern about whether the approaches being taken by governments in developed, predominantly Western, countries are appropriate, affordable, and technologically feasible for use implementation in developing and emerging countries. This concern is largely based on the many differences between the "developed" and both "developing and emerging" countries concerning their available financial resources, differences in technological capabilities, differences in noise sources, differences in cultural expectations about the acceptability of various exposure sources, differences in climates, lifestyles, building construction techniques, etc.
The severity of environmental noise problems in cities of developing countries reflects the level and speed of economic and industrial development. As cities undergo the natural process of development, environmental noise becomes an increasingly severe problem. In the past, the major causes of environmental degradation occurred sequentially rather than simultaneously. However, today many cities of developing countries are suffering pressure from a combination of different driving forces (e.g., motorization, industrialization, and increases in urban population density), each with a greater intensity than has occurred elsewhere in the past, but without the well-developed civil infrastructure and financial resources to control them. The result is that the ability of many cities to cope with these combined pressures is often exceeded, leading to a deterioration of environmental quality in many developing countries and increasing negative impacts on their citizenry.
To address this concern, an international consortium has been set up to work in a coordinated international effort to explore this issue and facilitate discussions necessary to coordinate noise research and noise policy efforts within developing and emerging countries. This program for this consortium will include a series of workshops, symposia, and special technical sessions, especially at international acoustics conferences, to address this complex and difficult topic. The objective of this program is to develop and help implement a strategic approach to environmental noise management in developing countries and to assist relevant decision makers and stakeholders to formulate and implement effective environmental noise management strategies. The strategic approach aims to mitigate environmental noise by facilitating the setting of noise priorities and by providing direction for institutional development and capacity enhancement.
Progress in Legislation and Regulation
EU and environmental noise directive
EC initiatives to improve noise policies across the European Union (EU) continue with considerable scientific and government support, with most of these efforts addressing issues related to the Environmental Noise Directive 2002/49/EC (END).  The main website  of the EU policy on environmental noise provides the range of EC Directorate General Environment activities related to noise policies.
The Dutch consultancies Milieu Ltd., Risk and Policy Analysis Ltd., and TNO were contracted by the EC to conduct a project reviewing the implementation of the END, as required by its Article 11. The review project ran from December 2008 until May 2010 and entailed three tasks, summarized in the project's objectives as follows:
Task 1: To review the implementation of the key provisions of the directive by the member states (EU27) and to develop proposals for the amendment of the directive, if considered appropriate;Task 2: To provide a comprehensive review of measures employed to manage environmental noise from key sources in the member states; andTask 3: To develop an action plan outlining further implementation strategies and community action on environmental noise, if considered appropriate.
Three reports ,, have been produced on these tasks and can be accessed on the website of the EC. 
International Civil Aviation Organization Committee on Aviation and Environmental Protection
In the fall of 2007, The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Committee on Aviation and Environmental Protection (CAEP) held an important workshop in Montreal, Canada entitled "Assessing Current Scientific Knowledge, Uncertainties and Gaps in Quantifying Climate Change, Noise and Air Quality Aviation Impacts." As described in the final report from the noise panel at this workshop,  "The CAEP process of assessing aircraft noise impacts is primarily based on the number of people exposed to significant noise as measured by day--night sound level, or DNL, which is not an assessment of impacts per se." This approach of quantifying people exposed should be modified to focus more specifically on the health effects or outcomes of aircraft noise exposure. There are currently well-documented exposure--response relationships for a number of health effects, which can be applied presently by CAEP to the overall aircraft noise assessment process, except for sleep structure and coronary heart diseases. However, because air traffic has evolved from fewer operations with loud aircraft to more frequent operations with quieter aircraft, an update to exposure--response curves may be needed to better reflect current and projected air traffic operations. The workshop in Montreal also noted that the applicability of and ability to generalize existing noise effects research data and related exposure-response relationships and thresholds to all countries is questionable and must be addressed. Considerable additional information may be obtained from this important report. 
Activities in the United Kingdom
Department for environment, food and rural affairs
The United Kingdom continues to make significant contributions to the noise effects research and noise policy-making activities. In August 2010 a key publication relating to Noise and Health, with implications for economic valuation, and for noise policy in general appeared on the Department for environment, food and rural affairs (DEFRA) website.  This publication was a project to undertake a review of research into the links between noise and health. The four key aims of this project were to identify
the most likely adverse health effects and review the current state of evidence for each one,emerging adverse health impacts that should be kept under review, andstructural challenges to developing robust dose-response functions;
and develop robust dose-response functions which could be applied to policy appraisal in the UK.
Noise policy statement for England
In March 2010 DEFRA published the Noise Policy Statement for England.  This document sets out the long-term vision of government noise policy to promote good health and a good quality of life through the management of noise. The policy represents an important step forward, by helping to ensure that noise issues are considered at the right time during the development of policy and decision making, and not in isolation. It highlights the underlying principles on noise management already found in existing legislation and guidance.
Noise action plans
The purpose of noise action plans  is to assist in the management of environmental noise and its effects, including noise reduction if necessary, in the context of government policy on sustainable development. To date, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has formally adopted noise action plans for 23 agglomerations (large urban areas), major roads, and major railways in England as of March 15, 2010. The action plans represent a strategic approach to and set out a direction for managing environmental noise. They do not propose any specific noise mitigation measures at this stage. It is intended that any such measures will be identified and agreed at a local level. Responsibility for implementing the plans will fall on those authorities, which are responsible for generating the noise (road, rail, and air infrastructure), including industrial noise in urban agglomerations.
Activities in the United States of America
There are have been very little major improvements or modifications of U.S. noise policy in recent years, although each of the involved federal agencies, such as the Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Transportation, all continue to have active programs on noise mitigation and most have active research programs. However, a new national "Towards a Quieter America" program has recently been initiated to examine how to improve U.S. noise policies.  This program will include a series of workshops, roundtable discussions, and briefings in Washington, DC in the near future. The primary basis for the broad national campaign was the 2010 publication of "Technology for a Quieter America" by the National Academy of Engineering.  This report looked at the most commonly identified sources of noise, how they are characterized, efforts that have been made to reduce noise emissions and the noise exposure of people in various environments. The report also reviewed the standards and regulations that govern noise levels and presented information on the cost-benefit trade-offs between efforts to mitigate noise and the improvements they achieve. Information sources available to the public on noise problems and their mitigation, and the need to educate professionals are also considered.
The International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS) through the CAETS Noise Control Technology Committee held a workshop entitled "The design of low-noise vehicles for air, road, and rail transportation" in 2008, including nine international academies, and a forum entitled "Second CAETS forum on worldwide noise sources," in 2009. Findings include the following: 
Vehicle noise emissions are a global issue and are the predominant sources of environmental noise.Aircraft technology is fully globalized while road vehicle technology is partially globalized.Advanced rail vehicle and track technology is well developed in Europe and Asia.Environmental noise generated by industrial equipment and consumer products are also part of the global noise issue.
Activities in Japan
Activities in Japan over the past 5 years include revision of the "Environmental Impact Assessment Law," designed to prevent serious influence on environment by large-scale developments. The Environmental Impact Assessment Law was enacted in 1997 in Japan. To strengthen this law, a minor amendment was made in April 2011, in which the concept of "strategic environmental assessment" has been included. In the end of 2007, the Ministry of the Environment revised the Guideline of Environmental Quality Standard (EQS) for Aircraft Noise to use L den instead of the Weighted Equivalent Continuous Perceived Noise Level (WECPNL).  Revision of a manual for measurement and evaluation of aircraft noise followed it in 2009.  The guideline will be enforced from April 2013. Japan is also currently working on improved noise policies for the following topics:
Noise from the high-speed railway (Shinkansen).Revision of the Aircraft Noise Prevention Law.Research on sleep disturbance.National policy for wind turbine noise.Methods for evaluating the effects of military aircraft noise and artillery noise on educational facilities and hospitals.Policy for warning sound signal generation on electric cars.
Activities in Brazil
Noise policies for environmental and consumer product and regulations in Brazil include two regulations of the Minister of the Environment covering noise which relate to commercial, social, recreation, and industrial activities. The regulation NBR10151  sets the permitted noise levels in urban areas including hospitals, residential, commercial, and industrial areas: The basic outdoor sound pressure level for residential areas should be below 45 dBA, the night time sound pressure level is required to be lower by 5 dBA. The regulation NBR10152  sets complementary norms on the sound pressure levels for acoustical comfort in different places (hospital, schools, hotels, residences, restaurants, offices, schools, etc.) in the range from 30 dBA to 60 dBA. Another standard NBR 13910-1, 2, and 3:1999 recommends noise labeling according to the sound pressure level. 
Activities in South Africa
In South Africa noise control is based on Law No. 39: National Environment Management: Air Quality Act  , 2004 and a framework of national standards - each of which is abbreviated by the acronym SANS (South Africa National Standard) and a number. The most important national standards relating to noise control are SANS 10103, relating to the measurement and rating of environmental noise;  SANS 10117, relating to the calculation and prediction of aircraft noise around airports;  SANS 10181, relating to the measurement of idling road vehicles;  SANS 10210 relating to the calculation and prediction of road traffic noise;  SANS 10281, providing vehicle speed values and reference and permissible sound pressure levels,  and SANS 10328 relating to environmental noise impact assessments.  The draft regulations relating to noise control of January 25, 2007  in the Western Cape province prohibit two types of noise exposure, namely "disturbing noise" (meaning a specific and continuing or intermittent measurable or calculable noise that is quantifiable and of which the relevant and appropriate rating level of the noise exceeds any of the outdoor equivalent continuous rating levels as specified in SANS 10103) and "noise nuisance" (meaning any sound which impairs or may impair the convenience or peace of any reasonable person). Further regulations refer to the need for an environmental impact assessment in land use, the driving of a vehicle not meeting the sound pressure levels of SANS 10281, and music festivals, shows, sports, and games meetings, inclusive of discotheques in enclosed spaces. The draft regulations further regulate the general obligations and general powers of local and provincial authorities, offences, penalties, exemptions appeals, and the application of the regulations.
Activities in other countries
Activities in other countries are summarized in the full ICBEN 2011 paper  for the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, Sweden, and Switzerland.
This ICBEN Team 9 review of noise policies and strategies reports on the progress in environmental noise management in the EU, international organizations and programs, and selected countries. Progress has been achieved in many developed, mainly Western, countries while in developing countries with their higher noise levels the problem of noise exposure has been hardly recognized. Individual cities of developed countries are now taking actions to enhance their institutional and technical capabilities for environmental noise management and implement preventive actions to reduce the risks that environmental noise poses to their citizens.
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