The Environmental Noise Regulations 2006 (SI 140 of 2006) implemented the European Union Environmental Noise Directive 2002/49/EC, relating to the assessment and management of Environmental Noise into Irish law. For the purposes of both the EU Directive and Irish Regulations, environmental noise is defined as:
“unwanted or harmful outdoor sound created by human activities, including noise emitted by means of transport, road traffic, rail traffic, air traffic and noise in agglomerations over a specified size.”
Types of noise not included in the Regulations are noise that is caused by the exposed person, noise from domestic activities, noise created by neighbours, noise at workplaces or noise inside means of transport or due to military activities in military areas.
Under the Regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the national body appointed to supervise the implementation of the Regulations. Wicklow County Council is designated as both the Noise Mapping Body and the Noise Action Planning Authority for Co. Wicklow, under the requirements of the Regulations. Accordingly, Wicklow County Council has taken the necessary actions to comply with the statutory requirements of the legislation. These included the completion of the first Noise Action Plan for assessment year 2006, which was published in 2010.
Assessments commenced in 2011 to quantify the extent of roads affected by the reduction in assessment thresholds specified in the Regulations. Environmental Noise Mapping of the roads affected was completed in 2012 and a Draft Noise Action Plan was published for public consultation in June 2013. This Draft Noise Action Plan 2013 detailed the intended approach to be undertaken over the lifetime of the action plan (defined as five years) to manage and control environmental noise. After reviewing the comments received during the consultation process, the Final Noise Action Plan 2013 was published in August 2013 and sent to the EPA, along with the Noise Action Plan 2013 – Summary Report.