The European Parliament and the Council adopted on 25 June 2002 a Directive related to the provision and management of noise nuisance (ENO-001). The Directive provides a common basis for the noise problem in the European Union. The basic principles of this Directive are the same as those of other environmental policies.
1. Monitoring the environmental problem; by requiring competent authorities in Member States to draw up "strategic noise maps" for major roads, railways, airports and agglomerations, using harmonised noise indicators Lden (day-evening-night equivalent level) and Lnight (night equivalent level). These maps will be used to assess the number of people affected and sleep-disturbed respectively throughout Europe;
2. Informing and consulting citizens about noise exposure, its effects, and the measures considered to address noise, in line with the principles of the Aarhus Convention;
3. Addressing local noise issues by requiring competent authorities to draw up action plans to reduce noise where necessary and maintain the noise level where it is acceptable for the human health. The Directive does not set any threshold value, nor does it prescribe measures to be used in the action plans, which remain at the discretion of the competent authorities;
4. Developing a long-term EU strategy, which includes objectives to reduce the number of people affected by noise in the longer term, and which provides a framework for developing a Community policy on noise reduction at its source. Additional legislation on noise emission is considered.
The first EU-wide noise mapping exercise in 2007 found considerable differences in assessment methods, data collection and quality. On 14 September 2012, the European Commission published common noise assessment methods (CNOSSOS-EU) to enable more easily the assessment of exposure to noise from transport (road, rail, air traffic) and from industry. Moreover, the methods will allow coherent and comparative data to be provided on noise levels to which Europeans are exposed. The ultimate aim is to reduce those levels.
Some relevant documents:
ENO-001: 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 (European Parliament and the Council)