German government proposal on vehicle noise to the UNECE

September 15, 2011

The European Commission’s Enterprise and Industry directorate is due to publish a proposal to set new standards for noise emissions from cars, vans, lorries and buses this month.

The European Commission decided to bring forward the proposal, after years of negotiations failed to make any progress at the noise working group of the UNECE in Geneva (an international standard- setting body for the automotive sector).

However, Germany will present their own proposal for international (not EU) vehicle noise standards at the next UNECE noise meeting on 19-21 September 2011. The German proposal would create some important loopholes, which means significant action will not be asked of the worst offenders – heavy lorries and high-powered cars. The noise from heavy lorries and high-powered cars is especially relevant for sleep disturbance, which affects one in five people Europe according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Sleep disturbance caused by road traffic noise is shown to pose a serious and widespread risk to health.

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