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European parliament condemns European citizens to noisier cities

Brussels, 6 February 2013 - The lives of millions of Europeans will be blighted by an increase in road traffic noise for years to come as the European Parliament today voted to weaken current noise limits for sports cars and trucks. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) and the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) express their disappointment in today’s parliamentary vote, and resume calls on Member States to strengthen limits to lead to quieter and, hence, healthier cities in Europe.

The amendments proposed by the Rapporteur, Miroslav Ouzký, and approved by the full Parliament will lead to the loosening of the current noise limits for some vehicles, which were set almost twenty years ago. The weaker standards will allow much louder sports cars on to the road and mean that lorries stay at today’s unacceptable noise levels.

T&E policy officer Cécile Toubeau commented: “Today’s vote wastes a once-in-a-generation opportunity to give us all quieter lives. It overturns a positive result from the Environment Committee, and shows that MEPs put the scaremongering of the automotive industry above the health of citizens. As a result, our roads will get louder in the coming years.”

Reducing noise from vehicles is a public health imperative, with nearly half of all EU citizens exposed to road traffic noise over the level the World Health Organisation (WHO) considers to pose a serious risk to health [1]. The four-decibel cut in vehicle noise emissions proposed by the Commission would have been equivalent to more than halving current traffic levels [2].

HEAL deputy director Anne Stauffer added: “MEPs today turned down a huge opportunity to improve the quality of life and health of European citizens. We urge the EU Member States to correct this approach and commit to effective vehicle noise reductions in order to reap substantial economic and health benefits.”



Cécile Toubeau - Policy officer, clean vehicles, Transport & Environment (T&E), Email :, Tel: +32 2 893 0859

Anne Stauffer – deputy director, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Email: anne@env-health.orgTel: +32 2 234 3643

Notes to editors

(1) WHO (2011): Burden of disease from environmental noise. Quantification of healthy life years lost in Europe -

(2) Commission’s proposal:

Originally posted on 6 February 2013

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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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