This review has highlighted the important developments relating to noise issues performed by international organizations and the activities in some developed and developing countries to improve environmental noise management.
The World Health Organization is in the process of finalizing the WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region as an update of the WHO Community Noise Guidelines of 1999/2000.
The International Civil Aviation Organization, in Chapter 14, has lowered the current chapter 4 standards for subsonic jet aircraft and propeller driven aeroplanes.
In 2014-2016 the European Parliament and the Council and the European Commission have achieved significant progress in amending laws and regulations and creating new legislation. Efforts referred to regulating the EU type-approval of all new buses and trucks with regard to their sound level and the introduction of noise-related operating restrictions at airports, in accordance with ICAO’s Balanced Approach. The EC amended the END and arranged for the evaluation of the END based on the criteria of relevance, coherence, effectiveness and impacts, efficiency, and EU added value. Two new regulations addressed the issues of technical specification for interoperability of high-speed trains related to sound emission levels and the implementation of provisions establishing noise-differentiated track access charges.
The European Environment Agency published the ‘Noise in Europe’ report describing the impacts of noise exposure in terms of cases of premature death, hospital admissions, cases of hypertension and annoyance. In addition, the European Environment Agency developed a good practice guide on quiet areas, refined the methodology for a quietness suitability index, and published its report on “Quiet areas in Europe”.
In the United Kingdom, the Civil Aviation Authority reported new and updated evidence on attitudes to aviation noise around airports in England, and the Airports commission published recommendations for development in the aviation sector around London. The Department of Transport formulated a draft Airports National Policy Statement on expansion options for South East England airports.
Switzerland published its Environment Report 2015 and estimated the annual external costs of road traffic, railway and aircraft noise which are quite substantial.
Developing countries become increasingly aware that noise levels have gone up abnormally high and can cause acute and chronic health impacts on the human population. In consequence, Costa Rica has lowered the permissible sound pressure levels, and India, Iraq and Mexico have set new daytime and night-time noise standards. Tanzania has approved permissible sound pressure limits, which were prepared by the National Environment Management Council almost a decade ago. The Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency developed a national plan to combat noise, which is currently implemented on a collaborative effort of 11 ministries, a rare phenomenon in developing countries. Kenya is currently committed to develop a strategy for environmental noise management.