Strategic Noise Maps 2017


Legal Provisions and Competent Authorities

The “Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise” (Directive 2002/49/EC) came into force on February 18, 2002, when it was published in the Official Journal of the European Community. For the European Community, this opened the path to legal provisions covering noise immission into the environment.

The German Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) describes the objectives of the Directive as follows:

“Ensuring a high degree of health and environmental protection is part of the Community policies, one of the objectives being noise protection.” To achieve this, “adverse effects of and annoyance caused by environmental noise must be prevented, avoided and reduced.” This requires the following action:

  • determining the load caused by environmental noise by means of noise maps, according to assessment methods to be used by all Member States;
  • ensuring that the public is informed about environmental noise and its effects;
  • adoption of action plans by the Member States based on the results of noise maps, aiming to prevent and reduce environmental noise where necessary, particularly in cases where exposure levels might have effects detrimental to health, and further aiming to maintain environmental noise quality where it is good.

Furthermore, the Directive is to form the basis for the further development and enhancement of measures to reduce the noise emission of the most relevant noise sources, also to inform the European Commission about the exposure caused by environmental noise in the Member States.

The Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection (SenUVK) has ordered and implemented the Noise Mapping Project 2017, “Level 2” as an update of the Noise Mapping Project 2012, for the State of Berlin, as provided in the requirements of the Noise Mapping Ordinance and the Federal Immission Protection Ordinance (34th BImSchV/ Bundes-Immissionschutzverordnung), in connection with §§ 47 a-f of BImSchG (Federal Immission Protection Act / Bundes-Immissionschutzgesetz) and Directive 22002/49/EC (Environmental Noise Directive), with the current LAI instructions on noise mapping taken into consideration.

Due to distinct responsibilities, only the noise maps created by the Senate Department the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection are published here. These cover the areas of road traffic (motor vehicles including buses), streetcar traffic and traffic on the above-ground sections of the subway, air traffic as well as industrial and commercial lots.

The analysis of noise from rail traffic according to the General Railway Act (Allgemeines Eisenbahngesetz, AEG) is published here on the site of the Federal Railway Authority (Eisenbahn-Bundesamt, EBA, only in German).

The plan aims at creating strategic noise maps and the related statistical evaluations (exposure for humans, dwellings, schools and hospitals in specific immissions-level classes). The results were prepared with respect to the following items for further utilization:

  • Basis for reporting to the EU and for informing the public
  • Basis for continuing the Noise Action Plan 2018 (noise reduction planning for Berlin (only in German))
  • Basis for managing the output data (data model care)
  • Basis for re-calculation and evaluation of spatially defined areas

The BImSchG, §§ 47 a-f, sets the rules for implementing the EU Environmental Noise Directive under German law. The 34th BImSchV defines the requirements for noise maps under §§47 c of the BImSchG.

Noise maps must always be based on calculations. The calculations must comply with the preliminary calculation rules set by the EU, which in some respects differ from the Technical Codes applicable under national law (see below, Calculation Method).

Noise maps are to be reviewed and, if necessary, revised every five years, after they have been drawn up (Level 1 in 2007; Level 2 in 2012; Level 3 in 2017; Level 4 in 2022 etc.).

General description of major noise sources by location, magnitude and traffic occurrence/extent of mapping

The boundaries of the area of investigation are the borders of the State of Berlin. The noise sources to reinvestigate are:

  • Road traffic (motor vehicles including busses)
  • Streetcar traffic and above-ground subway traffic (PBefG, Passenger Transportation Act)
  • Industrial and commercial lots with facilities as per Annex 1, European Industrial Emissions Directive (IED)
  • Air traffic
  • Rail traffic according to the General Railway Act (AEG)

Significant other major noise sources of road traffic in areas of the state of Brandenburg near the Berlin border which exceed the stipulated immission level were also included.

An overview of the noise sources included in the responsibility of the State of Berlin is shown in Table 1:

Table 1: Main noise sources for noise mapping in the conurbation area of Berlin

Table 1: Main noise sources for noise mapping in the conurbation area of Berlin

In road traffic, deviations from the route lengths on the 2012 map are due to the fact that the on- and off-ramps of the Federal motorways have been digitalized meticulously.

In streetcar rail traffic, deviations from the route lengths on the 2012 map are due to new segments (e.g. connection to Berlin Central Station).

Ancillary conditions when considering the total values of noise pollution

To date, the legal regulations described do not provide for the compilation of overall noise levels, so that each of the major sources of noise is independently determined and assessed separately. However, the 2004 Environmental Report, p. 490, of the Advisory Council on the Environment, states “a reduction in noise pollution impact upon the population can therefore only be successful if a combination of various sources of noise is considered.”

However, since the dose-response relationships in case of simultaneous impact of several noise sources has hitherto been extremely difficult to describe from a medical and psychological point of view, we have here chosen a simplified approach:

  • All immission values for the various major noise sources have an equal degree of impact, i.e. noise-type-specific impact factors based on a bonus-malus system will not assigned.
  • Only the energy levels of the separate noise sources are added.

(A study by the TÜV (German Technical Inspection Service) on Immission Protection and Energy Systems includes more information on “total noise” (only in German)).

Note: The mapping of the railways under the General Railway Act (AEG) by the Federal Railway Authority entered into the consideration of the total values of noise pollution (as of December 2016).

When considering the total values of noise pollution, the peculiarities of the logarithmic decibel scale must be taken into account. For instance, the volumes of two 50 dB(A) events add up to 53 dB(A), since this increase by 3 dB(A) is perceived by the ear as a doubling of impact. Two components of 50 dB(A) and 60 dB(A) add up to 60.4 dB(A).