Germany’s federal administrative court has ruled that the ban on night-time flights at Frankfurt airport is legal. The ban on all flights from 23.00 to 05.00 came into effect in October, despite opposition from Lufthansa which said the ban could damage Frankfurt’s status as the seventh-largest cargo handling airport in the world.
Proposed EU regulation on vehicle noise
A group of noise expert has written to the Commission in order to encourage it to take tighten measures on traffic noise levels, especially vehicle noise, which have severe health impacts. They stressed the importance of having stricter standards on noise emissions in a very short time, as well as the rapidity with which vehicle producers can comply to them in a quite short time.
The Commission has published its long-awaited proposals on reducing noise from cars, vans, buses and lorries, but the vast majority of cars already meet the first stage of the stricter limits, and almost a quarter meet the second stage. T&E says the proposals should have gone ‘farther and faster’, and has called for a third stage in the timetable in order to create an incentive for quieter vehicles.
After a twenty-year wait, the European Commission has today proposed new standards to cut noise levels from cars, vans, buses and lorries.
This two page briefing examines the EU's proposal to revise vehicle noise standards, with T&E's suggestions for how they could be improved to better protect health.
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.
The German government has launched an initiative on reducing noise from cars that would lead to dramatic noise increases. T&E is warning that the German proposals, presented to the UN Economic Commission for Europe, show that Germany’s car industry is looking to secure permission for certain high-performance cars to be twice as loud, and Porsche sports cars four times as loud as normal cars.
Future Porsche sports cars could get away with being almost four times noisier than regular cars while high performance versions of the BMW 3 series, Audi A4 and Mini Cooper could become almost twice as loud under German plans for weak international limits on vehicle noise (1). Noise reductions for lorries would also be delayed until 2028 if the proposal from the German transport and environment ministries is accepted. T&E is calling on the EU to set its own stringent noise standards for cars and lorries in a proposal expected later this month.
Germany will present a proposal for international 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.