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Quieter cars and lorries essential for improved health and more economically viable

On 18 December 2012, members of the European Parliament’s Environment and Public Health committee will vote on new EU standards for vehicle noise. Traffic noise is the second biggest threat to health after air pollution, so this first update on noise standards is a not-to-be missed opportunity for public health protection. It also makes a lot of economic sense, since the benefits outweigh the costs by a factor of 30 to 1.

There is increasing evidence on how exposure to noise from traffic damages our health. A recent study from Denmark has shown a link between long-term exposure to road noise and health, when they found that for every 10 decibel increase the risk of a heart attack grows by 12%.

Noise is also very much a concern for Europe’s citizens, environmental organisations and local authorities: Cities, noise experts, politicians and social and environmental organisations have come together in support of a joint declaration calling on the EU to increase the ambition level of European noise limits for new vehicles. The joint declaration “A Sound Investment to Reduce Vehicle Noise” puts forward a five step plan which will reduce traffic noise levels by half in urban areas. We urge MEPs voting on the new Vehicle Noise Directive to seize this once in a lifetime opportunity to substantially and cost-effectively improve the health and well-being of EU citizens.

Sign the Joint Declaration here!

Last updated on 12 December 2012

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »

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