Integrating environmental noise considerations into public policy: the case of Ireland



European Commission Directive (EU) 2020/367 describes how harmful effects from environmental noise exposure are to be calculated for ischemic heart disease (IHD), high annoyance (HA), and high sleep disturbance (HSD) for road, rail, and aircraft noise under the Environmental Noise Directive’s (END) strategic noise mapping process. It represents a major development in understanding the extent of exposure from transport-based environmental noise  given it is a legal requirement for all EU member states from the 2022 reporting round. It also has the potential to accelerate the development of stronger noise-health policies across the EU. While this development is to be welcomed, there are a number of basic noise-health policy applications that first need to be implemented in the Irish case if the noise-health situation is be accurately assessed and if public health is to be adequately protected. In order to address this requirement the following paper presents concrete policy and practice recommendations as well as an evaluation of the current application of noise management policy in Ireland which is administered to protect the public from the harmful effects of environmental noise. This paper provides guidance on how noise-health considerations can be integrated into key relevant areas of Irish policy including healthcare, the environment, transportation, and planning.