1. Legal basis and KFB’s role
The matter of environmental noise protection is regulated by Directive 2002/49/EC, encompassing three main practical actions:
- Establishment of European noise assessment indicators and uniform methods for their calculation, which constitute key criteria for assessing the acoustic state of the environment (Article 5 – indicators and Article 6 – methods).
- Regular creation of strategic noise maps for designated areas (Article 7).
- Preparation and implementation of long-term noise protection programs, which can operate independently or within broader environmental protection programs (Article 8).
Regulations stemming from this directive have been implemented into Polish legislation through the Environmental Protection Law Act. One of the key regulations introduced is the obligation to develop strategic noise maps, followed by the creation of noise protection programs and action plans based on those maps.
The role of KFB involves providing substantive support to entities and authorities responsible for the creation and collection of strategic noise maps. KFB also implements requirements regarding the manner of preparing and transmitting information from these maps to ensure a uniform standard of their preparation.
Both European and national regulations contain only general information regarding the content of strategic noise maps, describing the requirements in a generalized manner. The pursuit of maintaining a uniform approach is particularly significant, considering the purpose for which these maps are created.
Shaping that uniform approach as a standard was our goal during the creation of two key documents, namely the Catalog of Data Concerning Industrial Activities in Poland in the Context of the Requirements of Directive 2015/966 and a document concerning Good Practices for Creating Strategic Noise Maps, where we are a co-author
2. Strategic noise maps – its role and elements
A strategic noise map is a computational model representing the acoustic landscape of an entire city. Such maps are created by specialized companies experienced in environmental acoustics. They enable more informed urban spatial planning and identification of major noise sources in the surroundings, facilitating actions aimed at reducing annoyance for residents.
Strategic noise maps serve as a primary source of information used for:
- Informing the public about noise-related threats in the environment.
- Collecting data for state environmental monitoring.
- Creating and updating noise protection programs.
- Creating noise protection action plans.
- Strategic and spatial planning.
- Providing information for transmission to the Commission according to Directive 2002/49/EC.
A strategic noise map consists of both a graphical part and a descriptive part (tables and necessary descriptions). It is a multi-layered document containing various aspects related to noise emission, immission, and impact for each noise source and indicator.
Different types of data are distinguished within strategic noise maps:
- Descriptive parts containing textual information.
- Tabular data containing population numbers, building information, areas affected by 𝐿𝐷𝑊𝑁 and 𝐿𝑁 indicators for individual noise sources.
- Spatial data encompassing layers comprising the noise map.
- Source data, files containing information about the acoustic model.
In the case of these maps, a very important element is the data transferred via ICT systems to the relevant parts of local administration and the European Commission.
3. Input data for the model
The accuracy of environmental noise impact assessment results, including strategic noise maps, largely depends on the data entered into the model. This concerns both noise sources in the industrial area and spatial data of the area. Geometric data is currently easily accessible, but a more complex problem arises with data concerning noise sources. Comprehensive acoustic data (source location, sound power level, operating modes, operating times, etc.) require the collection and analysis of numerous data sets, followed by appropriate choices.
The most relevant spatial data necessary for creating an acoustic model includes:
- Digital Terrain Model – point representation of terrain elevation,
- Orthophotomaps – processed aerial or satellite images serving as a base for geometric verification,
- Database of Topographic Objects,
- 3D Building Model.
Acoustic data necessary for the acoustic model can be divided into three categories:
- Source data,
- Spatial data,
- Propagation conditions data.
Source data includes inventory and identification of noise sources and their emission parameters. Spatial data focuses on acoustic parameters along the path of sound wave propagation. Propagation conditions data concentrates on determining the conditions for which the assessment is conducted. This is the scope of data, necessary for creating strategic noise maps.
The creation of noise maps must be based on:
- Harmonized noise assessment indicators on a European scale,
- Recommended, tested, and precise analytical-measurement methods.
4. CNOSSOS Methodology
In 2008, the European Commission initiated the development of common methodological frameworks for noise assessment under the project “Common Noise Assessment Methods in the EU” (CNOSSOS-EU), carried out by the Joint Research Centre.
CNOSSOS-EU (Common Noise aSSessment MethOdS) is a noise assessment method introduced into the European Union by the Commission Directive of May 19, 2015.
The aim of CNOSSOS-EU is to standardize noise assessment in cities with a population above 100,000, major roads, railway lines, and airports.
CNOSSOS-EU considers two sound wave propagation situations: downward bending and linear wave propagation.
CNOSSOS-EU is based on several data:
- JRC Report on Common Noise Assessment Methods in Europe (CNOSSOS-EU),
- HARMONOISE Project – road noise model,
- IMAGINE Project – railway noise model,
- NMPB2008 Method – road/railway/industrial noise propagation model,
- ECAC Doc.29 edition 3 – method for predicting aircraft noise,
- VBEB – method for estimating population exposure to noise.
This allows noise sources to be mapped, enabling a precise analysis of the environment. Our services ensure quality, and our proximity to the issue is always an advantage. Acoustic development in the field of environmental noise requires a broad perspective, combining knowledge from the fields of acoustics, geoinformatics, mechanics, machine construction, and law.