Noise pollution can be described as unwanted sound that unfairly intrudes into our daily activities. There are many sources of noise pollution, most of which are associated with urban development; road, rail and air transport; industrial noise; neighbourhood and recreational noise. In 1994, the Minister for the Environment addressed the problem of noise pollution by making regulations under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Act, 1992, whereby any individual person, or a local authority, may complain to a District Court seeking an Order to deal with the noise nuisance i.e. noise so loud, so continuous, so repeated, of such pitch or duration or occurring at such times that it gives a person reasonable cause for annoyance.
Noise is measured in decibels, DB. The instrument used is called a sound level metre. It is designed to respond in a similar way to the human ear, and give objective assessment of sound pressure level.
Although noise is a significant environmental problem, it is often difficult to quantify associated costs. An OECD report on the social costs of land transport identified four categories of impact from transport noise;
Westmeath County Council being a designated Action Planning Authority under Article 7 of the Environmental Noise Regulations (S.I. No. 40) Regulations 2006, has prepared a Noise Action Plan for the sections of major roads in its functional area. See: Noise Action Plan 2018 - 2023
Detailed Strategic Noise Maps for major roads within County Westmeath can also be viewed online at the following locations: