Noise Management in Dublin City
Dublin City Council have adopted a number of new policies to help manage environmental noise exposure throughout the city. These policies are seen as the best approach to meeting the responsibilities laid out in Irish laws on noise pollution. This approach includes measurement of ambient sound quality to learn more about what citizens experience, plans for reducing noise exposure and ways of making all this information available to the public.
Measuring Sound Levels
The most effective approach to managing noise involves building up a complete picture of the type of noise that is present in the community. This means learning about the levels, patterns and sources of noise so that a more effective plan can be made to reduce exposure. The best way to do this is by measuring the sound levels over a long period of time at places of interest. Dublin City Council have deployed a network of environmental sound level monitors to do this. These monitors are placed in locations that are of value to the community or give a good indication of sound levels from major noise sources. Sound levels are measured 24 hours a day to build up a profile of the environmental quality at each site. This information is used to generate plans for reducing noise exposure and for making better environmental policy decisons.
Dublin City Council have cooperated with the three other Dublin councils to produce a Noise Action Plan for Dublin. This plan covers five years from 2013 to 2018 and lays out the measures that the councils intend to take to manage environmental noise exposure. The plan also contains an assessment of possible noise hotspots throughout the area. This is done by using complex software to make predictions about the noise generated from traffic in different areas. These predictions do not always show the actual sound levels at a given location, but they do show what areas are likely to be most affected by noise from busy roads. The action plan then looks at some ways to try and address exposure to this noise by managing the environmental impact of these transport systems.
As part of the initiative to manage sound levels around Dublin the City Council have designated 8 Quiet Areas which are to be protected from future increases in environmental noise. These sites were chosen partly because of the sound levels in the areas and partly because they provide some value to the citizens of Dublin. A city centre green space that has lower sound levels than nearby streets can provide a place that offers some tranquility, away from the busy city. Dublin City Council have chosen the following areas for protection to preserve this valuable resource:
- Blessington Basin, Blessington St.
- Edenmore Park, Raheny
- Mount Bernard Park, Shandon Pk., Phibsborough
- Dollymount SSA, Clontarf – terrestrial area only
- St. Anne’s Park, Raheny
- Palmerston Park, Dartry
- Ranelagh Gardens, Ranelagh
- The Cabbage Gardens, Cathedral Lane, D2
These initiatives are most effective when the information is shared with the community in a way that is accessible and easy to understand. This website has been launched for that purpose. All the sound level readings gathered by the monitoring network are available here, along with some useful information that is taken from the measurements. There is a huge amount of data collected every day and this website allows users to access those readings in a way that provides some insights into the environmental sound quality at each site. The tools on this site can be used to look at long term trends, short term events or overall noise ratings. Noise is a community issue and the more useful information that is provided to the community, the more effective each citizen can be at helping to protect the environmental quality of their surroundings by helping to develop and then helping to implement better noise management policy.
Dublin City Council provide extensive material on the noise map web page. You can download noise maps for various areas of the city as well as the entire functional area served by the Council. There are also a number of annual reports which analyse the readings collected by the sound level monitoring network. Some of the data used to create these reports is available to view through this website in the charts section. Older readings have been archived and are not available through this website, however, you can request the data by getting in touch with the noise mapping team in Dublin City Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Links to related pages:
Noise Observation and Information Service for Europe
The EU Policy on Environmental Noise
SILENCE - research project focused on controlling noise in urban areas
Q City - the Quiet City transport project
CityHush - Acoustically Green Road Vehicles and CityAreas
Irish Rail's Strategic Noise Maps
European Environment Agency information
Ireland's Environmental Noise Regulations 2006
The EPA's Noise Mapping and Action Planning
The Institute of Acoustics
The European Acoustics Association