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.
The workshop was hosted by the Cyprus EU Presidency for the technical harmonization of noise working group and other officials of member states working on the vehicle noise regulations. The purpose of the event was to update participants in new evidence concerning the impacts, sources and solutions and costs of abating vehicle noise.
After three postponements (1), the Environment Committee of the European Parliament has voted for tighter future noise limits for vehicles. The standards of future noise limit values was accepted in a tight vote defeating an alternative proposal that would have allowed much louder sports cars, buses and trucks onto the road.