Draft noise action plans (NAPs) set out the principles for managing environmental noise and describe the process to be followed to determine what, if any, further noise management measures might be undertaken in areas found to be most affected by environmental noise.
The criteria for the identification of important areas, and within that the first priority locations, were derived through the NAP impact assessment. Three options were considered:
(a) identify top 0.5% of populations exposed with priority given to exposure to 80dB(A) or more according to the noise maps;
(b) identify top 1% of populations exposed with priority given to exposure to 76dB(A) or more according to the noise maps; and
(c) identify the population with exposure to 65dB(A) or more according to the noise maps (with no specific additional priority).
Option (b) was chosen as it was seen to the most pragmatic approach to implementing the first round of noise action planning, bearing in mind the five-yearly cycle of the environmental noise directive (END). First priority locations were identified within these important areas as those locations where the LA10,18h is at least 76dB for roads, and for railways, those locations where the LAeq,18h is at least 73dB, according to the results of the noise mapping.
The relevant noise-making authority has the responsibility for determining what further measures might be taken to improve the management of noise. The criteria for identifying these important areas will be reviewed on a five-yearly basis to coincide with the END timetable.