The purpose of Directive 2000/14/EC is to harmonise EU Member States Laws on noise emission limits, measurement methods and labelling requirements for 57 categories of construction and other equipment used outdoors. It removes technical barriers to trade and controls noise emissions into the environment. For 22 categories of equipment Stage I noise limits began in 2002 and reduced limits for a Stage II began in 2006. An amending Directive, 2005/88/EC, allows Stage I limits to apply beyond 2006 for some categories of construction equipment.
Together with the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC both directives address problems from noise emissions, with the Machinery Directive focussing largely on the occupational safety of the operator (amongst many other health and safety concerns and a much wider scope of products) and the Outdoor Noise Directive on the overall environmental effects.
The European Commission is investigating, as part of its wider administrative simplification agenda, whether there is a case for merging the two directives. A team of consultants is set to report their conclusions on this in early 2014 after which the Commission will make its own assessment, in partnership with the relevant stakeholders, before determining the appropriate way forward.
CECE shares the Directives positive approach for the protection of the environment, together with the goal of ensuring that legislative requirements are both technically achieveable whilst allowing the continuing funcionality of the equipment.
CECE is against the merger of the Outdoor Noise directive and the Machinery Directive and proposes that the Outdoor Noise directive should be ameliorated e.g. by adding the option of self-certifiction for machinery with sound limits.