The European Commission has identified noise as one of the most pressing problems in urban areas across Europe and stressed the need to take action on various sources of noise, as part of its Environmental Action Plan in 1993.
The subsequent ‘Future Noise Policy’ sets out steps for the development of a Directive to specifically regulate noise created by outdoor equipment.
The Outdoor Noise Directive 2000/14/EC (OND) regulates the noise emissions into the environment by outdoor equipment.
Some 57 types of equipment are named in the Directive. It refers mainly to outdoor machinery, such as those used on construction sites or in parks and gardens.
Almost all of the 57 types of equipment are also within the scope of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC and both directives address issues arising from noise emissions. However, the Machinery Directive focuses on the occupational safety of the operator (amongst other things) and the OND on the overall environmental effects.
In 2013-2014 the Commission explored the case for a merger between the two directives but concluded that they should remain separate. This conclusion was accepted by stakeholders and so a complete revision of the OND will now be undertaken:
A study was carried out on how the existing limit values for noise might be updated, and also how they might in future be applied to equipment currently not subjected to limits but only to marking. The study began in April 2015 and was completed in February 2016:
A supporting study for an evaluation and impact assessment of Directive 2000/14/EC on noise emission by outdoor equipment has been ongoing since May 2017. The results from this study (to be delivered by the first semester of 2018), as well as previously completed studies, will be used as the basis for the upcoming revision process of EU legislation. An online public consultation has been launched on 23 January 2018 and will run until 18 April 2018.
Following Directive 2000/14/EC, manufacturers are legally obliged to produce an EC declaration of conformity (DoC) with equipment – which states that the equipment conforms with the provisions of this Directive, as well as any other relevant directives.
The European Commission services has developed an electronic form for EC declaration of conformity called ‘NOISE’, which is an on-line tool for manufacturers, authorised representatives, EU countries and notified bodies to send and manage DoCs.