Fabian Demicoli

Consultation: Prevent and reduce ambient noise – 13th June at 10 at MEUSAC Offices

Environmental noise, caused by traffic and industrial activities is one of the main local environmental and health problems in Europe and the source of an increasing number of complaints from the public. This led to the adoption of Directive 2002/49/EC relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise, which has been transposed into Maltese law through Legal Notice 193 of 2004, Assessment and Management of Environmental Noise Regulations, 2004.

 

Directive 2002/49/EC obliges all Member States to develop strategic noise maps designed for the assessment of noise exposure for areas inside designated agglomerations, and areas in the vicinity of major roads, railways and airports. This Directive does not require Member States to assess noise generated by other activities, such as those arising from construction works, outdoor entertainment, workplace noise and fireworks noise. Member States are also obliged to design noise action plans based upon the noise-mapping results. These action plans are aimed at preserving environmental noise quality where it is good; and preventing and reducing environmental noise where necessary and particularly where exposure levels can induce harmful effects on human health.

Malta's strategic noise maps were generated by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA). These maps were generated by estimating noise levels resulting from major road traffic – defined as roads with more than 6 million vehicle passages annually.

Strategic noise maps are produced by 3D computer modeling techniques, which calculate the noise level at specific points resulting from the sound emanating from particular sources. The modeling software for the assessment of noise levels from major roads utilises data on traffic flow, type of road, types of vehicles, percentage of traffic flow, mean traffic speed, road gradient, road surface type, location of bridges, height of buildings, meteorology and other factors.

These strategic noise maps and related data flows were reported to the Commission in May 2011 and a draft noise action plan has been recently published by MEPA. The draft action plan provides an overview of the requirements and obligations of Malta's Environment Noise Regulations and presents a summary of the results of the strategic noise mapping within Malta.

The draft noise action plan is available for public consultation till the end of June. Comments received will be taken into consideration and the draft action plan will be amended accordingly. A summary of the amended action plan will then be submitted to the Commission for consideration.

The draft noise action plan is available at:

http://www.mepa.org.mt/noise-action-plan

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