The environmental theme disturbance involves attaining and maintaining a good residential and living environment. The quality of this local environment is mainly determined by local and/or regional environmental impact caused by disturbance. Disturbance involves the environmental aspects noise, odour, external safety and local air pollution. These environmental aspects all have in common that their effects have a direct impact on the wellbeing of human beings.

In order to asses the effects of disturbance nuisance a census is organised on a yearly basis. For a more objective assessment of disturbance nuisance a research project is initiated by the Dutch ministry of Environment. Objective of this project is to establish an Environmental Decision Support System (EDSS) that determines the impact of noise and odour on man and environment. Furthermore, it has to be able to monitor the effects of disturbance policy on the environmental quality. Because not only the assessment of the impact of disturbance is important but also the location this impact occurs Geographical Information System (GIS) is used as datamanagement and analysis tool.

This page presents the first results of the project disturbance. In the project only the environmental aspects noise and odour are subjects of research. The other aspects of disturbance (external safety and local air pollution) are subject of research currently carried out in other laboratories within the RIVM.


In brief the followed procedure can be described as identification of the sources of noise and odour and assessment of the extension of their environmental impact. A more detailed description of the followed procedure for the mapping of noise and odour nuisance is given on the next page.


The maps that display the location and extension of the nuisance of the individual sources, the cumulation of the aspects noise and odour and the cumulation of both noise and odour are presented. Also the results of a number of provisional analysis are shown.

Provisional analyses

With the maps that show the location and extension of disturbance by noise and odour a number of analysis can be made. These analyses have a provisional character because not all sources of noise and odour disturbance are included yet. Also the methodology used to assess the extension of noise and odour levels have to get a more quantitative character. Never the less the results of the provisional analyses shown give good insight in the analyses the EDDS has to be capable of.

Concluding remarks

The methodology presented on these pages and the results of the project disturbance have a provisional character. In this stage of the project only the sources of noise and odour are identified and their environmental extension is assessed. In the next stage of the project the number of sources has to be increased. Also the methodology to calculate the environmental extension has to be improved so that a quantitative assessment of the environmental impact of noise and odour can be given. This more quantitative description of noise and odour levels in combination with response functions (for man and fauna) has to make the translation of environmental impact to annoyance for both environmental aspects possible.

For more information please contact:

Arno Bouwman
Laboratory for Soil and Groundwater, Section Information Systems
National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection
Tel +31 30 2743626
Fax +31 30 2744427

#-home-page Page revised1 June 1997