HC Deb 13 March 2003 vol 401 cc373-4W
Norman Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the EU Directive relating to noise emissions from outdoor equipment. [102475]

Mr. Wilson

I have been asked to reply.

The EC noise emission in the environment by equipment for use outdoors Directive was adopted by the European Parliament and Council on 3 July 2000 as Directive 2000/14/EC. Its purpose is to harmonise national laws of member states regarding noise emission limits and labelling requirements at the manufacturing stage.

The Directive was implemented into UK law by The Noise Emission in the Environment by Equipment for use Outdoors Regulations 2001 (SI 2001/1701) made under the European Communities Act 1972.

The Directive and implementing UK Regulations apply to 57 types of equipment for use outdoors ranging from construction machinery to lawnmowers that require noise emission measurements to be taken and to fix labels showing the "guaranteed" noise levels of each machine. In addition the Directive and implementing UK Regulations set noise limits for 22 of the 57 types of equipment that are intended to be first placed on the market or taken into service as an entire unit.

Equipment is subject to conformity assessment, as with other European Directives of this type. Certain types of equipment, is subject to third party assessment by a Notified Body. In the UK these organisations are appointed by the Secretary of State, according to certain minimum criteria laid down in the Directive and Regulations, following an assessment by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service. A manufacturer or his authorised representative established in the Community may use the services of Notified Bodies in any of the other member states.

Once conformity assessment has been completed and provided that the equipment subsequently complies with the provisions of the Directive and any other applicable Regulations, the manufacturer will be required to affix the CE marking together with the indication of the guaranteed sound power level.

Enforcement of the UK Regulations is carried out by the Vehicle Certification Agency. The penalties for non-compliance range from the issuing of suspension notices to imprisonment or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale. It should be noted, however, that the VCA are seeking to work with manufacturers to help them comply properly, as well as taking enforcement action in justifiable cases.