Environmental Noise (Scotland) Regulations 2006
7. The Environmental Noise (Scotland) Regulations 2006 introduced strategic noise mapping and noise action planning for large urban areas, major transport corridors and major airports. Scottish Ministers must prepare Strategic Noise Maps and Noise Action Planswhich identify Quiet Areas and areas where management of noise is required. The Scottish Government has identified such areas as Noise Management Areas ( NMAs). The Noise Action Plans must include measures to manage noise. Airport Operators must prepare Strategic Noise Maps and Noise Action Plans for places near airports.
8. Strategic Noise Maps identify the scale of noise from transport and industrial related sources on a local level and present information on areas where the population is most exposed to noise from this source. They are the basis for the development of Noise Action Plans and show average noise levels for an average day in the year calculated on the basis of a 10m grid and height of 4m above ground level. Strategic Noise Maps should not be used for a detailed noise assessment, but they do show the noise situation within the following areas:
- Agglomerations (urban areas) with more than 250,000 inhabitants 1 , and
- Areas near major airports with over 50,000 movements per year
- Areas near major roads which have more than 6 million passages a year
- Areas near major railways which have more than 60,000 passages a year
From 2012, Strategic Noise Maps will also show the noise situation for:
- Agglomerations with more than 100,000 inhabitants,
- Areas near major roads which have more than 3 million vehicle passages a year, and
- Areas near major railways which have more than 30,000 passages a year.
9. Based on the results of the noise mapping exercise, Scottish Ministers and Airport Operators must publish Noise Action Plans which include population noise exposure information and set out noise abatement measures designed to manage, avoid, prevent or reduce, on a prioritised basis, the harmful effects of environmental noise exposure in the NMAs. These action plans should also set out noise abatement measures to protect environmental noise quality where it is good, for example in Quiet Areas within urban areas and within NMAs. Quiet Areas are defined in Noise Action Plans.
10. The results of the noise mapping and action planning will be reported to the European Commission every 5 years, focusing on the number of people exposed to noise in 5dB noise bands. The planning system has a role in ensuring that new development does not result in increasing numbers of people exposed to adverse noise impacts. The preferred approach is to plan for good environmental quality, including the noise climate, from the outset rather than to try to mitigate the effects in retrospect.