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Experts gather to debate the future of EU noise policies

On Wednesday 25th May, European and national policy makers, scientists, environment and health specialists and non-governmental groups met to discuss the future of EU noise policies. The well attended conference, organised by HEAL, Transport and Environment (T&E), and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), provided a platform to discuss the latest science on noise & health, road traffic noise and the future of EU noise policy.


Anne Stauffer, Deputy Director of HEAL, closed the conference by emphasising that there is a continuous need for awareness raising of the health impacts of environmental noise and for further research, especially on combined effects of air pollution and noise. HEAL hopes that the new health evidence presented at the conference will be taken into account by policy makers in the upcoming decisions on EU vehicle noise and in the review of the EU Environmental Noise Directive.


During the conference, Philippe Jean announced of the European Commission plan to tighten vehicle noise limits for cars, lorries and buses with a proposal expected before September 2011. HEAL and T&E welcomed the announcement but called for more ambitious standards, to reduce the impacts on health from traffic noise pollution.


Philippe Jean, acting director of the European Commission’s Enterprise Department, told the conference that the Commission plans to cut noise emissions from cars by 4 decibels and from lorries by 3 decibels. The new limits would come into force within four years of a new Vehicle Noise Directive being agreed, he said.


The conference’s second panel had three experts present the latest findings on the health impacts of environmental noise. Dr. Rokho Kim from the World Health Organisation WHO, Prof. Stephen Stansfeld from ENNAH, and Dr. Mette Sorensen from the Danish Institute for Cancer Epidemiology showed the numerous ways noise from transport and industry sources can impact adult’s and children’s health. The presentations made clear that environmental noise is a critical public health problem.

On 6 July 2011, experts, researchers and policy makers will gather in Brussels to discuss specifically future research needs as part of the European Network on Noise and Health ENNAH final conference.




Written on 1 June 2011.

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