Are you asked to carry out sound measurements to assess compliance with legislation? Have you been commissioned to carry out acoustic studies for an environmental licence or a single permit? You must be approved by the SPW ARNE (Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment) for your measurements to have an official value. You must apply for approval in writing. It is free of charge!
Measurable noise pollution to combat noise
Noise can become pollution when it reaches a certain threshold. Its negative effects are felt both in the environment and on the health of the people who are exposed to it.
The law sets noise emission standards with which facilities and activities requiring an environmental licence or a single permit must comply. Controlling these standards makes it possible to prevent and limit the noise pollution generated by these activities.
Approval is required to carry out sound measurements
As a laboratory or independent body, you must be approved by the SPW ARNE to carry out:
1. Noise control measurements
2. Acoustic studies in the context of an environmental licence, a single permit or an environmental impact assessment
3. Acoustic studies in the context of noise mapping or environmental noise management plans
4. The verification and inspection of sound level meters and sound measuring devices (inspection prior to placing such devices on the market is excluded from the scope)
Approval is issued for one or more of the aforementioned measurement categories and is valid for 5 years. It is renewed at your request (maximum 6 months before the end of your current approval).
Once approved, your laboratory or organisation is included in the list of approved laboratories in Wallonia.
To apply for approval or to renew an existing approval, follow the procedure set out below.
- Measurement laboratory
- Independent private or public organisation
EQUIPMENT AND DEVICES
As a laboratory or organisation approved to measure noise, you must have at least the following equipment:
• a Class 1 sound level meter conforming to the latest versions of IEC 651 and IEC 804
• a computer
• software for evaluating the measurement results
Additional equipment and/or devices are required depending on the measurement category covered by the approval. Thus:
• for category 2 (acoustic studies), acoustic modelling software
• for category 3 (noise mapping and action plans):
o specific acoustic modelling software
o drawing and georeferencing software
o a staff member with experience in the aforementioned software
• for category 4 (verification and inspection of sound level meters):
o an isolation chamber with a noise level LAeq, 1h lower than 15 dBA
o a pistonphone-type reference calibration system
QUALIFICATIONS AND SKILLS
The applicant for approval or a staff member must have one of the following skills.
• A Master's degree in applied sciences or equivalent qualification supplemented by:
o a specific course in acoustics of at least 30 hours (taken during graduate studies or subsequent training)
o AND 3 years experience in any office, organisation or department carrying out acoustic studies or measurements
• 3 years of higher education including 3 years of specific studies in acoustics AND 3 years experience in an office carrying out acoustic studies or measurements
• A Master's degree other than in applied sciences supplemented by:
o a specific course in acoustics of at least 60 hours (taken during graduate studies or subsequent training)
o AND 5 years experience in an office, organisation or department carrying out acoustic studies or measurements
GUARANTEE OF IMPARTIALITY
The approved laboratory or body and its staff shall not have any direct interest in any business manufacturing or selling noise abatement equipment.
APPLICATION FOR APPROVAL (or renewal)
*) WHAT INFORMATION TO PROVIDE?
Your application for approval must include the different categories of information identified in the appendix to the Walloon Government Decree currently in force (see "Legal references"), namely:
the contact details of the applicant laboratory or organisation
the contact details of the person actually managing the laboratory or organisation
the measurement category or categories for which approval is sought
the list of available premises (offices, laboratories, specific acoustic rooms)
the list of acoustic and computer equipment and devices available
specific acoustic software if applicable (see "Conditions")
the credentials, qualifications and references of the applicant, contracted personnel and subcontractors involved in the measurement work
an activity report covering the last 3 years and mentioning the list of studies and works carried out in the various fields of acoustics
a sworn declaration that the information provided is accurate and that neither the applicant nor their staff have any direct interest in the manufacture or sale of noise abatement equipment
*) WHERE AND HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION
The application for approval (or renewal) must be made in writing and sent to:
SPW ARNE - Directorate of Pollution Prevention
Avenue Prince de Liège, 15
Your application can be:
sent by registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt
delivered to the administration's reception desk at the above address with a receipt
PROCESSING YOUR APPLICATION
The SPW ARNE checks whether the application received is complete and admissible. It will inform you of its decision within 20 days of receiving your application.
If the application is incomplete, you must provide the missing information within 20 days of receiving the administration's decision.
Once it has received your additional information, the SPW ARNE has 20 days to re-analyse your application and inform you of its decision.
An application for approval is declared inadmissible if:
the application is declared incomplete on two occasions
the applicant does not respond within the time limit
GRANTING or REFUSING APPROVAL
The SPW ARNE will inform you of its decision to grant or refuse approval 90 days after notification of the admissibility of your application, at the latest.
SUBMITTING AN APPEAL
If you are not satisfied with the SPW ARNE's decision, you can submit an appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court of Belgium.
Consult the appendix to the Walloon Government Decree in force (see "Legal references") to find out what information to include in your application for approval or renewal of approval.