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Law Search

How will leaving the EU change things?


Environmental laws that come from Europe will continue to apply for the time being.


  • European Directive relating to the Assessment and Management of Noise (Directive 2002/49 EC - also known as the Environmental Noise Directive or 'END') - requires European member states to compile noise maps, provide public information about noise and its effects, and adopt noise action plans. It only covers certain types of outdoor noise, such as from roads, trains, air traffic and big industrial plants. It does not cover indoor noise, noisy neighbours or work-place noise. The Directive has been implemented by Environmental Noise Regulations (below) and a series of noise maps and plans. Click on these links for more information about the maps and plans for England, Wales and Scotland.
  • European Directive on Noise at Work (Directive 2003/10/EC) - lays down minimum requirements for the protection of workers from health and safety risks from exposure to noise. It sets noise exposure limits, requires employers to carry out regular risk assssments, and to eliminate risks or reduce them to a minimum including, if necessary, by providing hearing protectors.

UK legislation

The UK does not have a consolidated body of legislation on noise pollution. Here are some selected pieces of legislation that deal with noise pollution. Please note that the list is not exhaustive.

Legislation affecting England, Scotland and Wales

  • Control of Pollution Act 1974 - Part III gives local authorities powers to control construction site noise and certain levels of street noise - section 62 has two versions, one that applies in England and Wales, the other in Scotland.
  • Environmental Protection Act 1990 - Part III gives local authorities powers to treat various things as statutory nuisances, including noise from premises and noise in the street from vehicles (not including traffic noise), from machinery and from other equipment such as loudspeakers - some sections have different versions for England/Wales and Scotland, while others only apply in England/Wales or Scotland.
  • Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993 - section 8 gives local authorities powers to consent to the use of loudspeakers in the street.
  • Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 - require employers to take steps to protect employees from exposure to excessive noise. They implement European Directive 2003/10/EC on Noise at Work.

Legislation affecting England and Wales only

Legislation affecting Scotland only

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