Guidance

Regulations: noise emissions from outdoor equipment

Guidance for manufacturers, authorised representatives, and responsible persons.

From 1 January 2021 there are some differences in the rules for placing outdoor machinery on the market in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and placing outdoor machinery on the market in Northern Ireland. Those differences are explained on this page. You can also:

Find out about placing manufactured goods on the market in Great Britain.

Find out about placing manufactured goods on the market in Northern Ireland.

Find out about placing manufactured goods on the market in the EU.

Overview

Certain types of outdoor machinery are regulated to control the noise they produce in order to reduce its environmental impact, particularly in urban areas.

Equipment in scope must have:

  • a standard label indicating its guaranteed sound power level
  • technical documentation 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. The Regulations apply UK wide, however some of the provisions apply differently in Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales) and Northern Ireland.

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.

Extent of obligation

The manufacturer or its authorised representative is responsible for compliance. However:

  • for the Great Britain (GB) market - where the manufacturer is not established in the UK, any person placing the equipment on the market or putting it into service in GB is responsible for compliance
  • for the Northern Ireland (NI) market - where neither the manufacturer nor its authorised representative is established in NI or the European Economic Area (EEA), any person placing the equipment on the market or putting it into service in NI is responsible for compliance

How to 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 procedure includes the creation of technical documentation, providing the information to enable compliance to be assessed.

Equipment must display the relevant Guaranteed Sound Power label. Manufacturers must also declare conformity with all relevant legislation by affixing:

  • the UKCA mark, in the case of outdoor machinery being placed on the market in GB

and/ or

  • the CE or CE and UKNI mark, in the case of outdoor machinery being placed on the market in NI

Read guidance on using the UKCA marking.

Read guidance on using CE and UKNI markings.

For equipment subject to noise limits and noise marking, the quality control system of the manufacturer, or the tests performed, need approval from a third-party conformity assessment body. There are differences between the GB and NI markets with regards to third-party conformity assessment; these are explained in the guidance referenced in the ‘Where can I find more?’ section of this web page.

Equipment subject to noise marking only can be self-certified by the manufacturer, without the involvement of a conformity assessment body.

The CE marking will be accepted for some equipment being placed on the GB market until 1 January 2022. However, for equipment subject to both noise limits and noise marking which requires mandatory third-party conformity assessment, the new UKCA marking needs to be used immediately after 1 January 2021 if both of the following apply to your product:

  • it is for the GB market

and

  • conformity assessment has been carried out by a UK conformity assessment body and you have not transferred your conformity assessment files from your UK body to an EU recognised body before 1 January 2021.

There are transitional arrangements in respect of existing stock, for example equipment that was fully manufactured and ready to place on the market before 1 January 2021. These are explained in the GB and NI guidance referenced in the ‘Where can I find more?’ section of this web page.

A Declaration of Conformity must also be completed, detailing the noise levels measured and test procedures followed. This must be sent to the Secretary of State within 28 days of the equipment being placed on the market. This can be achieved by sending it by e-mail to the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS):

noisedeclarations@beis.gov.uk

Additionally, for equipment placed on the market in NI this must also be sent to the European Commission (EC), achieved by uploading it to the European database (the NOISE portal).

Noise application guidance notes (PDF, 549 KB, 22 pages) – relevant to equipment placed on the market in NI only.

The role of the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS)

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) enforces the Regulations in GB and NI on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Where to find out more

If placing equipment on the market or putting equipment into service in Great Britain:

If placing equipment on the market or putting equipment into service in Northern Ireland:

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

Contact us

If you have a specific enquiry about compliance or wish to contact us regarding suspected non-compliance we recommend that you complete the online enquiry form, choose the relevant legislation and follow the on screen instructions.

Alternatively you can contact our helpdesk on 0121 345 1201.

Or in writing to:

Office for Product Safety and Standards
4th Floor Cannon House
18 The Priory Queensway
Birmingham
B4 6BS
United Kingdom

Published 1 April 2015
Last updated 1 January 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated at the end of the transition period to reflect amendments to the regulations and the different rules for placing outdoor machinery on the market in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  2. EU Exit update

  3. Link added to guidance on how these regulations will change after Brexit.

  4. First published.