What is the EPA’s role in relation to noise? 

The EPA is responsible for issuing Waste, IE, and IPC licences. As part of the licensing systems, certain scheduled activities and operations have conditions attached to their licences which effect control over emissions of noise. Noise control measures and limits are generally stipulated by specific licensing conditions. Limits may be imposed at boundary positions and/or at noise sensitive locations. In addition, certain limits may be applied to specific sources of noise on-site. Typically licence conditions also place restrictions on tonal and impulsive characteristics associated with noise emissions from licensed facilities.

Environmental noise from major infrastructure including roads, railways and airports is governed by the EU's Environmental Noise Directive 

The Environmental Noise Directive (END) 2002/49/EC requires Member States to prepare and publish, every 5 years, strategic noise maps and noise management action plans for transport noise sources (i.e. roads, railways and airports) and industry.    

The European Communities (Environmental Noise) Regulations 2018, S.I. No. 549 of 2018, implements the Environmental Noise Directive. 

The EPA is the national authority for overseeing the implementation of the Environmental Noise Regulations. 

 

 

What is a strategic noise map?

A strategic noise map is a graphical representation of the predicted situation with regards to noise in a particular area and from particular noise sources, with different colours representing different noise levels in decibels [dB(A)].

Example of Dublin Agglomeration Roads Noise map

 

 

Where can I get this data? 

You can view this data on the EPA Maps. In the top menu, select Map, go to 'Environment and Wellbeing' and select 'Noise'. 

 

 

 

  • Lden is the day-evening-night noise indicator and it represents the noise indicator for overall annoyance. It is ‘weighted’ to account for extra annoyance in the evening and night periods. The Environmental Noise Directive defines an Lden threshold of 55 dB for reporting on the numbers of people exposed to this minimum noise level.  
  • Lnight is the night-time noise indicator and is used in the assessment of sleep disturbance. An Lnight threshold of 50 dB is defined for reporting on the numbers of people exposed to this minimum noise level.

 

These indicators are based on year-long averages of:  

  • Day (7am-7pm) 
  • Evening (7pm-11pm 
  • Night (11pm-7am) 

 

A strategic noise map is designed to display noise exposure levels in a given area, resulting from particular noise sources for: 

  • Major roads (>3 million vehicle movements per year)  
  • Major rail (>30,000 rail passages per year) 
  • Major airports (>50,000 air movements per year) 
  • Major cities (i.e. agglomerations >100,000 inhabitants), which include Dublin, Cork and (from 2020) Limerick 

Responsibility for the preparation of the strategic noise maps rests with the designated noise mapping bodies (see table below).  

It should be noted that the main focus of noise maps is for the strategic management of environmental noise, based upon a notional annual average day. They should not be seen as representing what may be measured directly at any location within the map. 

Noise maps are prepared every 5 years. The Round 4 Strategic Noise Maps are due to be published in December 2022 and noise action plans are due to be published in January 2025. In the meantime, you can view the Round 3 Strategic Noise Maps on under ‘Environment & Wellbeing’ and ‘Noise’. 

 

Who is responsible for strategic noise mapping? 

The responsibility for noise mapping lies with the designated noise mapping bodies: 

OrganisationResponsible for
Local Authorities (LA) Non-national roads 
Transport Infrastructure Ireland  National roads and the Luas 
Irish Rail  Heavy rail 
Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) 

DAA is responsible for the Dublin airport noise map.

The airport noise map is then joined to the four LA noise maps for Fingal CCSouth Dublin CC, Dublin CC and Dun Laoghaire CC, to produce one overall noise map for the Dublin agglomeration. 


 

What is a Noise Action Plan? 

Following the preparation of the noise maps, Noise Action plans are developed by Local Authorities in order to manage noise issues and effects. They involve the prevention and reduction of environmental noise, for the areas where the Lden (55 dB) and Lnight (50 dB) reporting thresholds have been exceeded. 

Each local authority should identify their noise-sensitive locations, which may involve drawing up a shortlist of potential areas for action. This list could include areas that are above the recommended onset values for noise mitigation measuresand also those that are below the recommended level for preservation (to help identify Quiet Areas –this refers to a space that is not affected by noise from transport, industrial activities or recreational noise).   An annual Noise Action Plan progress report is to be submitted by each Local Authority by the 28th February (each year).  

The current Round 3 Noise Action plans can be found by clicking the links into the Round 3 Noise layers on EPA Maps

     

Learn more 

Find out how to access data on the Noise Map 

Information on the EU's Environmental Noise Directive