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.
Traffic noise has suddenly moved up the EU agenda, with the Commission promising to cut noise from cars, vans, buses and lorries within five years. A proposal due later this year is expected to seek to reduce car noise by four decibels and lorry noise by three. The issue of noise has lagged behind EU efforts to cut air pollutant emissions, but a recent study suggesting that the benefits of halving vehicle noise would bring massive benefits to society and financial savings to governments appears to have created a sense of urgency in Brussels.
The European Commission has announced plans to tighten noise limits for cars, lorries and buses with a proposal expected within weeks and by September at the latest. Environmental and health organisations have welcomed the Commission’s announcement but called for standards that go much further towards World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations for avoiding dangerous impacts on health from traffic noise pollution.
This report summarises the latest evidence of the effect of traffic noise on the health and wellbeing of Europeans, and gives policy recommendations on how to reduce noise.
The EU has reached an agreement on revised road charging rules for lorries (the Eurovignette directive) that would open the door for Member States to charge for air and noise pollution in road tolls but introduces a loophole for lorries under twelve tonnes. The deal was finalised last night in 'trialogue' discussions between the European Commission, Council and Parliament.
A new World Health Organisation report says Europeans lose at least one million healthy life-years due to traffic noise every year. The findings are likely to put pressure on the EU to produce a meaningful revision of the vehicle noise directive that is due this summer.
In the EU and Norway, traffic noise is the second biggest environmental problem affecting health after air pollution, says a report published today by the World Health Organization (WHO) (1). This new health evidence highlights the urgency of adopting more stringent EU vehicle noise standards, according to health, environment and sustainable transport campaigners. The European Commission is expected to release a proposal to update the Vehicle Noise Directive 70/157/EEC in June. (2)
A half-day event co-organised by Transport & Environment, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) & Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)
T&E is seeking partner NGOs for a Europe-wide campaign to reduce traffic noise.