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Europeans wanting to know how noisy their area is can now find out at the click of a mouse.

Last month the European Environment Agency (EEA) launched an on-line map showing levels of noise caused by air, rail and road traffic. Based on data collected under the 2002 EU environmental noise directive, the EEA estimates that half of all residents living in cities with more than 250 000 inhabitants suffer from noise above 55 decibels, the starting point for noise to impact on health.

T&E policy officer Nina Renshaw said, ‘This will be a useful tool which we hope as many people as possible will use. Local and national campaigners can indentify problem areas as well as regions which have failed to submit the information required by the EU noise directive. As the impact of noise is still underestimated, this map ought also to add urgency to the review of the noise directive, which is getting under way now.’