The environmental noise Directive at a turning point

Invited paper

Ivana Juraga

European Commission, Directorate-General for Environment

Tuesday 2 june, 2015, 09:40 - 09:50

Auditorium 2 (592)

The burden of disease from environmental noise in Europe was recently estimated at 1.6 million healthy life years lost every year in urban areas in Western Europe. Traffic noise was ranked second among the selected environmental stressors evaluated in terms of their public health impact. Further, the trend is that noise exposure is increasing in Europe compared to other stressors (e.g. exposures to second hand smoke, dioxins and benzene), which are declining. Noise pollution affects the human health and well-being with increasing expenditures due to medical treatment and reduced productivity at work. This is translated into a social cost which is recently estimated to 40 billion /year in EU (0.4% EU GDP). Despite the dimension of the issue as described above, the perception of the environmental noise problem in the European Union is quite different, in the sense that in respect of the major issues (road, railway and aircraft noise), much attention is given for instance to neighbourhood noise, bars and pubs, bells noise, noise from works. One of the objectives of the END is to establish a common approach to assess the exposure to environmental noise throughout the European Union. Common approach means common assessment methods as well as common actions to achieve a commonly agreed goal, for instance the one agreed by the EU in the 7th Environment Action Programme. The European Commission is now undertaking an evaluation of the Environmental Noise Directive, and trying to identify the benefits, costs and hurdles of the implementation of the Directive and concerning an effective EU noise policy. The paper will also discuss general questions concerning the evaluation of the status quo and potential developments in the years to come.

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