Consistent Noise Policy
The EEA reported that more than 100 million European citizens are affected by noise levels harmful to their health. The extent of the noise problem is large. In the European Union countries about 40 % of the population are exposed to road traffic noise with an equivalent sound pressure level exceeding 55 dB(A) daytime and 20 % are exposed to levels exceeding 65 dB(A).
Taking all exposure to transportation noise together about half of the European Union citizens are estimated to live in zones which do not ensure acoustical comfort to residents. Main sources of environmental noise include road, rail and air traffic, industries, construction and public work. The main indoor sources are ventilation systems, office machines, home appliances and neighbours. Although many countries have regulations on environmental noise from road, rail and air traffic, and from construction and industrial plants, few have regulations on neighbourhood noise.
This is probably due to the lack of methods to define and measure it, and to the difficulty of controlling it. In developed countries, too, monitoring of compliance with, and enforcement of noise regulations are weak for lower levels ofurban noise that correspond to occupationally controlled levels (>85 dB LAeq,8h; Frank1998). Recommended guideline values based on the health effects of noise, other than occupationally-induced effects, are often not taken into account.