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Document 32000L0014

Noise emission by equipment used outdoors

Noise emission by equipment used outdoors



Directive 2000/14/EC on noise emission in the environment by equipment for use outdoors


It aims to:

  • improve the control of noise emissions by 57 types of equipment used outdoors (Articles 12 and 13, Annex I), such as:
    • compressors,
    • excavator-loaders,
    • different types of saws,
    • mixers, etc.;
  • promote the smooth functioning of the EU single market;
  • improve the health and well-being of citizens by reducing the noise emitted by equipment used outdoors.

It repeals and replaces 9 legal instruments on noise emissions for each type of construction plant and equipment, as well as Directive 84/538/EEC on lawnmowers.


The directive’s purpose is four-fold:

  • to harmonise noise emission standards;
  • to harmonise conformity assessment* procedures;
  • to harmonise noise level marking;
  • to gather data on noise emissions.

The following types of equipment are excluded:

  • non-powered attachments (to tools) that are separately placed on the market or put into service* (except for hand-held concrete-breakers and picks);
  • all equipment intended for the transport of goods or persons by public road or rail or by air or on waterways;
  • equipment designed and constructed for use by the police or the military.

EU countries are responsible for verifying that the rules laid down by the directive are being applied. Annexes V to VIII contains the various conformity assessment procedures to be used.

The manufacturer or the person placing the equipment on the market or putting it into service must ensure (Articles 4 and 8) that:

  • they have drawn up an ‘EC declaration of conformity’ certifying that each of item of equipment bearing the CE marking conforms with the directive;
  • they have affixed an indelible legible marking to each item of equipment indicating the guaranteed sound power level.

Where an EU country ascertains that equipment does not comply with these conditions, it must withdraw it from the market or prohibit its use.

Labelling is compulsory for all items of equipment covered by the directive and must include:

  • the CE marking visibly, legibly and indelibly affixed to each item of equipment;
  • details of the sound power level LWA* in dB(A)* in relation to 1 pW*.

The noise emission limits laid down for certain types of equipment involved 2 stages, so as to enable businesses to adapt to the new regulations. The emission limits for stage 1 took effect 2 years after the directive’s entry into force and more stringent limits entered into force in 2006.

EU countries may set up notified bodies which are responsible for monitoring the noise emission limits applicable to the equipment. These monitoring controls apply both to the equipment design phase and the equipment production phase. It should be noted, however, that it is not necessary to monitor the design of equipment that is subject only to compulsory marking.

With a view to assessing the impact of the directive, a procedure for the collection of noise emission data was established. This information serves as the basis for customers to choose less noisy equipment and for devising economic incentives and awards. Manufacturers or their authorised representatives are required to send to the relevant authorities in EU countries, as well as to the European Commission, a copy of the EC declaration of conformity for equipment placed on the market.

The directive has 24 articles and 10 annexes covering:

  • definitions of equipment;
  • EC declaration of conformity;
  • method of measurement of airborne noise emitted by equipment for use outdoors;
  • models of the CE marking of conformity and of the indication of the guaranteed sound power level;
  • internal control of production;
  • internal control of production with assessment of technical documentation and periodical checking;
  • unit verification;
  • full quality assurance;
  • minimum criteria to be taken into account by EU countries for the notification of bodies (the notified bodies mentioned above);
  • unit verification — model of conformity certificate.

Possible revisions to the legislation

An evaluation and impact assessment study of Directive 2000/14/EC has been ongoing since May 2017. Its results, as well as previously completed studies, will be used by the Commission as the basis for the upcoming revision process of EU legislation in this field. A public consultation was launched in January 2018 and ran until April 2018.


It has applied since 3 January 2002 and had to become law in the EU countries by 3 July 2001.


For more information, see:


Conformity assessment: the process confirming that a product satisfies the necessary process, service, system, person or body requirements.
Putting into service: the moment of first use by the end-user for purposes for which the good was intended.
LWA: measure of the acoustic energy emitted by a machine, i.e. the sound power.
dB(A): average sound level in decibels as perceived by the human ear.
1pW: 1 picowatt — the international standard reference value of sound power when this quantity is expressed as a level in decibels.


Directive 2000/14/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 May 2000 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the noise emission in the environment by equipment for use outdoors (OJ L 162, 3.7.2000, pp. 1-78)

Successive amendments to Directive 2000/14/EC have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Commission Recommendation of 6 August 2003 concerning the guidelines on the revised interim computation methods for industrial noise, aircraft noise, road traffic noise and railway noise, and related emission data (OJ L 212, 22.8.2003, pp. 49-64)

Directive 2002/49/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2002 relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise — Declaration by the Commission in the Conciliation Committee on the Directive relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise (OJ L 189, 18.7.2002, pp. 12-25)

See consolidated version.

last update 19.07.2018