The current EU noise standards from tyres were introduced six years ago, as the health problems resulting from road traffic noise became widely recognised. But as the latest tyres can considerably reduce road noise, the Commission has come under pressure to tighten existing standards.
T&E policy officer Nina Renshaw said: ‘Even when they were introduced, the existing standards were easily met by most of the tyres on the market, which does not indicate a set of limits designed to encourage better technology. The standards should have been renewed in 2004, but the Commission keeps delaying it and our roads are getting louder.
‘Given the problem, and wider tyres increasingly coming onto the market, it’s essential the EU proposes, without delay, effective standards to cut noise from passenger and commercial tyres, and we’re suggesting 5dB or more across the board.’
There are already tyres on the market 8dB quieter than the current maximum limit, so a 5dB reduction would be technically feasible and need not compromise other aspects of tyre performance. T&E also says further tightening should follow in 2016, for which indications should be agreed now.
The Commission has promised draft legislation, which is likely to appear around the end of the year, and its proposals will also include standards on rolling resistance. The potential of reduced resistance to improve fuel consumption has led to it becoming one of the ‘parallel measures’ with which Brussels wants to achieve its target for maximum CO2 emissions per kilometre in new cars.
In a separate though related development, T&E has expressed anger that the Commission has delayed the revision of legislation on overall vehicle noise by at least another year. The EC said earlier this month that it would continue collecting data on vehicle noise until 2009-10, and would only then consider legislation to tighten existing standards.
This means a minimum of three years before legislation for quieter vehicles can come.
This news story is taken from the October 2007 edition of T&E Bulletin.