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Noise Management in European Ports

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Infrastructure Node
Project Acronym
NoMEPorts LIFE05 ENV/NL/000018
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
Waterborne icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues,
Environmental/Emissions aspects
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

Two EU projects, HARMONOISE and IMAGINE, have respectively developed a new method to measure noise and a noise database. However, these projects did not cover the specific noise problem in ports, which is a source of a combination of industrial and traffic noise. The NoMEPorts project was focused on developing and demonstrating a structured approach for mapping and managing noise in seaport areas.


The NoMEPorts project aimed to elaborate a noise mapping and management system designed specifically for industrial port areas. According to the noise maps, the project planned to elaborate action plans to reduce noise annoyance. The results would be disseminated among the participants of the EcoPorts, a network of more than 150 ports. The project also aimed to develop a good practice guide to efficient noise mapping and management for industrial port areas. Another objective was to create a level playing field by promoting the use of a uniform guideline, to be integrated in the EU Directive for the assessment and management of environmental noise (2002/49/EC), commonly known as the Environmental Noise Directive.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Union
Type of funding
Public (EU)


The EU Environmental Noise Directive (2002/49/EC) specifies that industrial port areas near large agglomerations must be included in noise maps. The directive is however, formulated in a general way and does not provide specific guidelines on how such noise maps can be developed for ports. The NoMEPorts project was focused on developing and demonstrating a structured approach to mapping and reducing environmental noise problems in seaport areas.

The project was successful: developing a good practices guide on efficient noise mapping and management for industrial port areas; disseminating the NoMEPorts results (ie to the EcoPorts network); and promoting the use of uniform guidelines to address European policy on noise in port areas ie the good practices guide is clearly and directly linked with the Environmental Noise Directive.

The NoMEPorts project was successfully developed for six European port areas (Amsterdam, Livorno, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Citavecchia and Valencia) and provides noise maps and action plans to mitigate noise problems in urban areas close to the ports. Noise data was mapped at five levels at most ports, provided these levels of detail were relevant (ie measuring noise nuisance from heavy industry from IPPC categories, noisy industry not part of IPPC, road traffic, railways and from smaller industries). The Good Practice Guide to Port Area Noise Mapping and Management was developed with input from the six ports with noise maps and also from the ports of Rotterdam, Bremen, Tenerife, Gothenburg and Oslo and with support from Cardiff University, DGMR and Ecoports foundation.

Crucial data from the project analysis points to the dominant role that road traffic - such as from trucks entering the terminals - plays in generating noise nuisance around port areas. Other findings include the low contribution of noise caused by ships manoeuvring in port areas, and that citizens living close to seaports generally do not consider the port as the main cause of noise annoyance.

In the specific case of the Port of Amsterdam, a reduction of noise of more than 30% was achieved through the implementation of the action plan developed during the project. These results exceeded the expectations of the project's long term objective to reduce noise nuisance in port areas by 25%.

In order to facilitate the future implementation of the NoMEPorts methodology in other European ports, the NoMEPorts project created a good practices guide on “Port Area Noise Mapping and Management”. The project also provided input for future noise policies and EU directives and helped created a level playing field, where European ports can clearly identify requirements and actions to follow in order to enforce the Environmental Noise Directive. Moreover, the project evaluated the possible applicability of the methodology in other areas such as for general industrial areas, as well as for other environmental issues, such as air pollution. The results were widely disseminated and the good practices guide has been distributed through the EcoPorts network reaching more than 350 European ports.

This project has been selected as one of the 23 Best LIFE Environment projects in 2009-2010.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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