Environmental noise is ‘unwanted or harmful outdoor sound’ arising from all areas of human activity. Noise is caused by many everyday activities, the most common sources of environmental noise exposure in Ireland are from transport including road traffic, railways, and aircraft.
In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) published the Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region. The guidelines set out how noise pollution in urban areas is increasing and how excessive noise, particularly from transport, is adversely affecting sleep, as well as cardiovascular and metabolic function, and is therefore having a negative impact on human health and wellbeing.
In Ireland, road transport, particularly in urban areas, is the main source of transport noise. Strategic noise maps are used to predict noise exposure levels.