After three postponements the Environment Committee of the European Parliament will finally vote next week on noise limits for vehicles. Contrary to industry concerns, a new report published today by Transport & Environment (T&E), Europe’s sustainable transport campaigners, shows that making cars more fuel efficient is fully compatible with making them quieter too.
Traffic noise is a serious concern for Europeans, and the EU must act quickly to tackle the issue. That is the call from citizens from several European countries in a video clip published today (1) for International Noise Awareness Day.
After a twenty-year wait, the European Commission has today proposed new standards to cut noise levels from cars, vans, buses and lorries.
This two page briefing examines the EU's proposal to revise vehicle noise standards, with T&E's suggestions for how they could be improved to better protect health.
Future Porsche sports cars could get away with being almost four times noisier than regular cars while high performance versions of the BMW 3 series, Audi A4 and Mini Cooper could become almost twice as loud under German plans for weak international limits on vehicle noise (1). Noise reductions for lorries would also be delayed until 2028 if the proposal from the German transport and environment ministries is accepted. T&E is calling on the EU to set its own stringent noise standards for cars and lorries in a proposal expected later this month.
Research by the respected Dutch consultancy CE Delft has shown that carbon dioxide emissions from road transport could be reduced by 30% if motorway speed limits in the Netherlands were set at 80 km/h.
The European Parliament has approved a new energy efficiency, safety and noise labelling scheme for new tyres. Transport & Environment says the label is a step forward but much will now depend on national authorities being strict on implementing the scheme.
The Commission has rejected several suggestions by MEPs to make the forthcoming revised EU law on tyre labelling easier for the public to understand.
Measures to cut fuel consumption and noise through better tyres have moved a step closer, and must now await next month's European Parliament elections.
Motorists should soon be able to get more information on which tyres cut their fuel consumption, which improve their safety and which are quieter, following a vote in the European Parliament's industry committee last month.