The European Commission is taking legal action against the UK over claims it is exceeding limits on air pollution from traffic. Britain has two months to respond to the case that it breached EU limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions, which cause breathing and other health problems.
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.
The current European Union noise regulations for new or upgraded interoperable rail vehicles came into force in 2002 for high-speed rail and in 2006 for conventional traffic. These standards are known as Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSI), and are adopted by Commission Decisions. A comprehensive revision of the Noise TSI is planned for 2013. A working group has been established by the European Railway Agency (ERA) who is leading the revision process, where T&E represents the views of environmental groups. This paper is intended as an input to the working group.
A group of environmental NGOs has published a ranking list of 17 European cities, based on what they have done to improve air quality. Berlin came top, closely followed by Copenhagen, Stockholm, Vienna and Zurich.
Freight carried by rail is up, in particular in eastern Europe. The figures, from the European railway companies’ umbrella organisation CER, coincide with a report highlighting ‘significant potential’ for a shift to rail to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.