Expected low attendance could mean the outcome is uncertain.
A vote by the European Parliament's environment committee on
a Commission proposal to reduce vehicle noise limits will take place on Tuesday
(18 December), after being delayed because of allegations of
But expected low attendance at the meeting means the
outcome is uncertain.
Two alternative compromise amendments were agreed this
morning (13 December) by shadow rapporteurs meeting in Strasbourg. The first,
by the EPP and ECR groups, would offer much more generous allowances for high
performance cars including sports cars. The second by the S&D, ALDE and
Green groups maintains the Commission's proposal but puts in more stringent
limits for some categories.
The EPP/ECR compromise amendments are close to that put
forward by Czech centre-right MEP Miroslav Ouzký in September. Ouzký became the
centre of controversy when it was discovered that a Porsche advisor was listed
in the ‘author' field of his submission. Porsche would benefit from the more generous
provisions in the amendment for high performance cars. Ouzký, in turn, accused
the campaign group T&E, which discovered the authorship, of trying to
The original vote planned for September had to be delayed
because of the controversy, and has since faced further delays four times.
Ouzký has since stepped back from work on the file, according to sources
involved in the discussions, but has not been officially removed as shadow
Though the compromise by Socialists, Liberals and Greens
would usually outnumber the centre-right compromise, Tuesday's result will be
unpredictable because many MEPs are not planning to attend. Because they will
be off for Christmas break as of 19 December, many MEPs have opted not to go to
Brussels just for the two days and are instead returning home directly after
the Strasbourg plenary session today.
Greg Archer of of T&E said the EPP/ECR compromise “will
mean traffic noise won't significantly decrease before 2025 and continue to
impose avoidable health and social costs. The Committee must ensure the
conservative group amendments are rejected to prevent loud sports cars and
noisy buses and trucks continuing to blight the lives of urban residents."
But the EPP/ECR, and also several member states led by
Germany, say the stricter limits will be a hardship on the already struggling
European auto industry and will result in further job losses.
The Commission put forward its proposal in December last
year. It would reduce the limits on permitted vehicle noise in two stages, a
total reduction across the EU of about 25%. The existing limits, set in 2007,
would be lowered for cars, vans and buses by two decibels two years after
coming into force, dropping by another two decibels three years later. Limits
for lorries would fall initially by one decibel and by two decibels in the
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