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Reminder – consultation on noise mapping

The government is consulting on how it should implement the EU Directive on ‘noise mapping’. The noise directive and its implementation in the UK is important because noise maps will be the basic tool which the Government is likely to use for years to come when developing its noise policies.

Responses are needed by 16th May.

Response needed by 16th May !

The consultation

The UK has to implement the EU directive Noise Directive (Directive 2002/49/EC) which deals with noise mapping

DEFRA (Dept of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs) is undertaking a consultation on how the directive should be implemented in the UK. The consultation can be found on the DEFRA website: http://www.defra.gov.uk

The Noise Directive covers just ‘ambient noise’ – ie noise from aircraft, motor vehicles, trains and outdoor industrial noise (including ports). It does not include neighbour/neighbourhood noise.

The noise directive and its implementation in the UK is important because noise maps will be the basic tool which the Government is likely to use for years to come when developing its noise policies.

The EU Noise Directive

The Noise Directive requires member states to:
* inform the public about noise and its effects
* draw up noise maps for the “agglomerations” of more than 250,000 people by 30th June 2007
* draw up action plans to deal with the noise by June 2008.

Noise mapping will include:
* airports with 50,000 or flights a year – plus Biggin Hill, Blackpool, Bournmouth, Gloucestershire, Shoreham and Southend
* roads which carry more than 6 million vehicles a year;
* railways with more that 60,00 trains a year.

Key issues

1. The process is being rushed. The consultation document is pretty dreadful. It gives every impression of being thrown together and of DEFRA trying to get the work done in the shortest possible time and the cheapest possible cost. Indeed, DEFRA will be fined if it doesn’t let the European Commission know by July 2005 how it intends to produce its noise maps and action plans.

2. The aviation industry will have a major role in aircraft noise maps and actions plans. DEFRA is proposing that the airports draw up the aviation noise maps (except for the 3 designated airports) and be responsible for all the aviation action plans. We are arguing that there is a strong case for the Environment Agency to be given the task of noise mapping aircraft.

3. DEFRA proposes to exclude the local authorities – who know the situation on the ground – from a role in producing the noise maps and action plans for road and rail.

4. There are no plans to validate the computer-generated noise measurements with ‘real-life’ examples.

5. There are no plans to produce overall noise maps showing noise from all ambient sources.

6. The money aside for the noise maps and the action plans is minimal.

Responding to the Consultation

It is important that as many responses as possible are made. This will improve the chances of a better implementation and it will also show the public is bothered about the issue.

HACAN has produced a briefing on the subject – see ‘publications’ below. This gives plenty of ideas on comments that could be made.

Comments need to be sent to DEFRA by 16th May. They should be sent to Mark Oroma, DEFRA, Zone 4/H17, Ashdown House, 123 Victoria St, London SW1E 6DE or emailed to noise@defra.gsi.gov.uk