Noise emission by equipment used outdoors

Table of Contents:

Noise emission by equipment used outdoors

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Noise emission by equipment used outdoors


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Noise pollution

Noise emission by equipment used outdoors

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2000/14/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 May 2000 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the noise emission in the environment by equipment for use outdoors [See amending acts].


This framework Directive harmonises the 9 existing legal instruments on noise emissions for each type of construction plant and equipment, as well as a directive on lawnmowers. The aim is to improve the control of noise emissions by more than 50 types of equipment used outdoors, such as compressors, excavator-loaders, different types of saws, mixers, etc. (Annex I).

The aim of the Directive is to promote the smooth functioning of the internal market and to improve the health and well-being of the population by reducing the noise emitted by equipment used outdoors. With a view to achieving this aim, it provides for four types of action:

  • harmonisation of noise emission standards;
  • harmonisation of conformity assessment procedures;
  • harmonisation of noise level marking;
  • gathering of data on noise emissions.

The following equipment is excluded:

  • non-powered attachments that are separately placed on the market or put into service (except for hand-held concrete-breakers and picks);
  • all equipment intended for the transport of goods or persons by public road or rail or by air or on waterways;
  • equipment designed and constructed for use by the police or the military.

Member States will be responsible for verifying that the Directive’s provisions are being applied. Annex V contains the various checking procedures to be employed.

The manufacturer or the person placing the equipment on the market or putting it into service must ensure (Annex V, 2) that:

  • they have drawn up a declaration of conformity certifying that each of item of equipment is in conformity with the provisions of the Directive;
  • they have affixed an indelible legible marking to each item of equipment indicating the guaranteed sound power level.

Where a Member State ascertains that equipment does not comply with these conditions, it must withdraw it from the market or prohibit its use.

Labelling is compulsory for all items of equipment covered by the Directive and must include:

  • the CE marking visibly, legibly and indelibly affixed to each item of equipment;
  • details of the sound power level Lwa in dB(A) in relation to 1 pW.

The noise emission limits * laid down for certain types of equipment involve two stages, so as to enable undertakings to adapt to the new regulations. The emission limits for stage 1 take effect two years after the entry into force of the Directive. More stringent limits will enter into force in stage 2 four years later.

Responsibility for monitoring the noise emission limits applicable to the equipment is vested in a notified body set up by the Member States. These monitoring controls apply both to the equipment design phase and the equipment production phase. On the other hand, it is not necessary to monitor the design of equipment that is subject only to compulsory marking.

With a view to assessing the impact of the Directive, a procedure for the collection of noise emission data will be established. This information will serve as the basis for devising economic incentives and eco-label awards. Responsibility for collecting the data will rest with the certification bodies, which will be required to send the Commission a copy of their test reports. The Commission envisages the appointment of the European Environmental Agency to collect and evaluate these data.

The document has ten annexes on the following subjects:

  • definitions of equipment;
  • EC declaration of conformity;
  • method of measurement of airborne noise emitted by equipment for use outdoors;
  • models of the CE marking of conformity and of the indication of the guaranteed sound power level;
  • internal control of production;
  • internal control of production with assessment of technical documentation and periodical checking;
  • unit verification;
  • full quality assurance;
  • minimum criteria to be taken into account by Member States for the notification of bodies;
  • unit verification – model of conformity certificate.


The Commission Green Paper of 1996 on Noise Policy highlighted the increase of noise pollution in urban areas. Some 20 % of the population of Western Europe have to endure noise levels judged by the experts as unacceptable. While most external noise is caused by transport equipment, the extent of noise emissions as the result of the use of outdoor equipment is constantly increasing.

Termes clés
  • Noise limits are laid down following a general formula: L = A + B 1g P, where
    1. L is the sound emission limit,
    2. P is a power-related descriptor,
    3. A and B are product-related constants.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2000/14/EC



OJ L 162 of 3.7.2000

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2005/88/EC



OJ L 344 of 27.12.2005

Regulation (EC) No 219/2009


OJ L 87 of 31.3.2009

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2000/14/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version  is for reference purpose only.

Related Acts

Commission Recommendation of 6 August 2003 concerning the guidelines on the revised interim computation methods for industrial noise, aircraft noise, road traffic noise and railway noise, and related emission data [C(2003) 2807 – Official Journal L 212 of 22.08.2003].

The Commission recommends the interim application of the ISO 9613-2 engineering method for calculating the abatement of sound during propagation outdoors, in order to predict environmental noise levels around a variety of sources, particularly industrial sources.

Directive 2002/49/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2002 relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise – Declaration by the Commission in the Conciliation Committee on the Directive relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise [Official Journal L 189 of 18.07.2002].

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