Detailed guide: Regulations: noise emissions from outdoor equipment

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Certain types of outdoor machinery are regulated to control the noise they produce in order to reduce its environmental impact, particularly in urban areas, and to ensure a consistent approach across Europe, eliminating barriers to trade.

Equipment in scope must have:

  • a standard label indicating its guaranteed sound power level
  • a technical file showing this has been measured correctly
  • a Declaration of Conformity

The Noise Emission in the Environment by Equipment for use Outdoors Regulations 2001 (as amended) are the underpinning legislation.

What is covered?

The regulations cover 57 types of outdoor machinery typically used on construction sites or in large parks and gardens, such as chainsaws, cranes, dumpers, excavators, lawnmowers, leaf blowers and power generators.

The 57 types are split into two lists:

  • equipment subject to noise limits and noise marking
  • equipment subject to noise marking only

The regulations do not apply to machinery for the transport of goods or people by road, rail, air or waterways, nor for use by the military, police or emergency services.

Who is responsible for compliance?

The manufacturer or its authorised representative is responsible for compliance, apart from when neither is established in the EC, in which case it is the person placing the equipment on the EC market (or putting it into service).

How do I comply?

The noise emissions of outdoor machinery must be tested in accordance with the standards and procedures specified in the regulations, which allow for production and measurement uncertainties. This includes the creation of a technical file, providing the information to enable compliance to be assessed.

Products need to display the relevant Guaranteed Sound Power label and the CE label, although in practice the latter is likely to be already required under other legislation.

For equipment subject to noise limits and noise marking, the quality control system of the manufacturer or the tests performed need approval from a notified body (which in the UK is an organisation authorised for this purpose by the UK Accreditation Service). In contrast, equipment subject to noise marking only can be self-certified by the manufacturer without the involvement of a notified body.

A Declaration of Conformity must also be completed, detailing the noise levels measured and test procedures followed. This needs to be uploaded to the European NOISE portal and can be emailed to the Office for Product Safety and Standards (Safety & Standards), for equipment placed on the market or put into service in the UK.

Noise application guidance notes (PDF, 549KB, 22 pages)

What is the role of the Office for Product Safety and Standards?

Safety & Standards enforces the regulations in the UK.

Where can I find out more?

Noise Emissions Regulations 2001

Noise Emissions Regulations (Amendment) 2005

Noise Emission by Outdoor Equipment (European Commission)

This includes links to the Outdoor Noise Directive (2000/14/EC) and the Noise database.

If you have a specific enquiry about compliance with the regulations, please use the contact details on our enforcement services page.