An action plan is a plan consisting of one or more actions. The plan itself may have one or more goals, but it is not really necessary to have a goal. Otherwise it is not sure that the plan reaches the goal.
Some European directive describe action plans to reach a defined air quality or noise reduction. If the target can't be reached, a report is to be made by the member state. Sometimes there are deadlines by which the plan must be ready to start the action(s) and the targets are to be reached. If the target conercerning the air quality can't be reached, a report is to be made by the member state, too.
The directive 2002/49/EC - concerning environmental noise - has set a deadline for action plans in Europe for noise reduction. The first deadline was 18 July 2013. Action plans for noise reduction are to be drawn up every five years or earlier, if there are fundamental changings (i.e. new motorways).