An agreement reached yesterday means quieter road vehicles won’t be introduced for another 15 years. Transport & Environment (T&E) believes the deal crafted last night by the Commission, European Parliament and Member States is disgraceful, prioritizing the wishes of the car industry over the health of EU citizens. It means decades of delay for a quieter, healthier Europe.
Traffic noise is the second-biggest environmental factor affecting Europeans’ health after air pollution. Almost half of EU citizens are regularly exposed to road traffic noise over the level that the World Health Organisation considers to pose a serious risk to health. Noise pollution has been linked to 50,000 fatal heart attacks every year in Europe. This briefing outlines the European Commission, Parliament and Council positions on a proposal for new vehicle noise standards ahead of a third round of trilogue negotiations on 5 November, 2013. It also outlines T&E's analysis of the main issues as well as its recommendations for a compromise that avoids legal and technical loopholes.
Traffic noise is the second biggest environmental factor affecting Europe’s health after air pollution. Almost half of EU citizens are regularly exposed to road traffic noise over the level that the World Health Organisation (WHO) considers to pose a serious risk to health. Noise pollution has been linked to 50,000 fatal heart attacks every year in Europe.
The growing problem of railway noise has caused the Commission to consult on what action can be taken to tackle it.
Efforts to reduce traffic noise across Europe suffered a setback earlier this month when MEPs voted to weaken current noise limits for sports cars and lorries. The outcome of the vote hinders moves to bring EU vehicle noise levels into line with World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations for safe limits. T&E says MEPs have put pressure by the automotive industry ahead of the health of citizens.
The lives of millions of Europeans will be blighted by an increase in road traffic noise for years to come as the European Parliament today voted to weaken current noise limits for sports cars and trucks. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) and the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) express their disappointment in today's parliamentary vote, and resume calls on Member States to strengthen limits to lead to quieter and, hence, healthier cities in Europe.
Ahead of the noise vote on February 6, UK MEPs are being heavily lobbied to vote against noise standards by Land Rover, complaining that they can't comply with proposed limit values. Dutch consultancy TNO researched data in the official vehicle noise database and discovered that not only will Land Rover be able to comply, but most of their models already do!If Land Rover need some extra help achieving tighter noise standards, they could easily cut some dB by replacing their extremely noisy tyres (75dB) with equivalent quieter ones (72dB), which would also save fuel (see attached image - courtesy of http://www.kwik-fit.com/tyre-search.asp).
In this open letter, Transport & Environment, EUROCITIES, EEB and HEAL call on Members to support a quieter, healthier Europe and vote in favour of the ENVI committee’s report on February 5th 2013.
Opinion by our Director, Jos Dings
A new year has come, full of new challenges and opportunities. Fortunately, for now, Europe seems to have averted the worst emergencies. This should allow for some less ad-hoc and more strategic thinking about recipes to get ourselves out of the woods.
New research commissioned by T&E has confirmed that measures aimed at improving fuel efficiency also reduce vehicle noise. The report was published just days before the environment committee of the European Parliament voted to tighten existing noise standards for vehicles, narrowly defeating an alternative proposal that would have allowed much louder cars, buses and lorries.