This briefing gives an overview of T&E's views on new noise emission limits for road vehicles, proposed by the European Commission in December 2011.
Traffic noise is a serious concern for Europeans, and the EU must act quickly to tackle the issue. That is the call from citizens from several European countries in a video clip published today (1) for International Noise Awareness Day.
Brussels - Fuel tax havens such as Luxembourg and Spain may have to raise their low diesel taxes following a vote in the European Parliament in Strasbourg this afternoon on a proposal to revise the EU’s Energy Tax law. Commenting on the outcome of the vote, Magnus Nilsson, senior campaigner at T&E said: “This vote is good news for countries like Portugal, Belgium, France and Germany who currently lose billions in tax revenue as a result of lorries filling up in fuel tax havens such as Luxembourg and Spain. Lower diesel taxes are bad for the climate and force governments to find cash elsewhere, such as by raising job-killing labour taxes. ”
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.
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.
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.
A study ordered by the Commission has recommended the EU’s approach to regulating car and van emissions should be changed, as it is not helping to keep the environmental impact of road vehicles to a minimum.
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.