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Environment: Iceland to be brought to Court for breach of road noise Directive



The Authority today decided to bring Iceland to court for failing to address the problem of road noise, as required by the Environmental Noise Directive[1].

The purpose of the Environmental Noise Directive is to provide a common European approach to avoid, prevent or reduce the harmful effects of environmental noise. This includes, in particular, road noise. It provides a framework and tools which national authorities must use to choose the best measures to address noise problems caused by transport and industrial installations. The main tools provided by the Directive are noise maps, which show noise exposure in a given area, and noise action plans.

According to the Directive, Iceland should have drawn up noise maps for all major roads on its territory which have more than six million vehicle passages a year[2], by 30 June 2007. These are necessary to identify the problems linked to noise. On the basis of those noise maps, Iceland should have prepared action plans by 18 July 2008, to prevent or reduce the harmful effects of noise.

However, Iceland has not fulfilled those obligations.

In May 2010, the Authority issued a letter of formal notice to Iceland on this matter. It then followed up with a reasoned opinion in October 2010, requesting Iceland to comply with its obligations within two months. As Iceland has not complied with the reasoned opinion, the Authority has now decided to bring Iceland to the EFTA Court.


For further information, please contact:


Mr. Raphaël Meyer
Internal Market Affairs Directorate
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 44


Trygve Mellvang-Berg,
Press & Information Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66
mobile (+32)(0) 492 900 187


[1]Directive 2002/49/EC of 25 June 2002 relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise.

[2] According to information from Iceland, six major roads fall under this definition: Highway 1 (Hringvegur), Highway 40 (Hafnarfjarðarvegur), Highway 41 (Reykjanesbraut), Highway 49 (Nesbraut),  Highway 413 (Breiðholtsbraut) and Highway 418 (Bústaðarvegur).

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