Centre-right MEPs get their way on noise limits.
MEPs yesterday (6 February) voted to adopt a more lenient position on noise limits for cars than the European Parliament's environment committee had urged in December. The position is also weaker than the European Commission's proposal.
Amendments from the centre-right European People's Party aim to create an additional category for heavier passenger cars, which would lead to a higher overall noise threshold. Other amendments seek to ease limits for lorries. Similar amendments were rejected in the environment committee by one vote. Satu Hassi, a Finnish Green MEP, said the consequence of the amendments would be legislation offering “no meaningful improvement in EU rules on vehicle noise” compared to existing legislation, which was adopted 20 years ago.
“Centre-right MEPs have shamelessly backed the demands of noisy carmakers,” she said. She called the outcome “a victory for the noisy car industry, with the din of its intense lobby still echoing around Parliament”.
The concessions were originally suggested by Miroslav Ouzký, a centre-right Czech MEP, ahead of the committee vote. Ouzký became the centre of controversy when a campaign group revealed that an adviser for the car-maker Porsche was listed in the ‘author' field of his submission to MEPs. Porsche would benefit from the more generous provisions in the amendment for high-performance cars.
“The harmful impact of traffic noise has been scientifically proved but the legislative proposal is entirely focused on the noise generated by the vehicle engine,” Ouzký said after the vote.
Under the proposal, the noise limit for standard cars would be reduced from 74 decibels to 68db. More powerful vehicles would be allowed a margin of 2-6 extra db. MEPs voted to maintained the limit for the most powerful lorries (over 12 tonnes) at 81db.
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