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Document 51997IP0183

Resolution on the Commission Green Paper on future noise policy (COM(96)0540 C4- 0587/96)

OJ C 200, 30.6.1997, p. 28 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)


Resolution on the Commission Green Paper on future noise policy (COM(96)0540 C4- 0587/96)

Official Journal C 200 , 30/06/1997 P. 0028


Resolution on the Commission Green Paper on future noise policy (COM(96)0540 - C4- 0587/96)

The European Parliament,

- having regard to Article 130r of the Treaty on European Union,

- having regard to the Commission Green Paper on future noise policy (COM(96)0540 - C4-0587/96),

- having regard to the Commission's 1996 work programme (COM(95)0512),

- having regard to the Fifth Action Programme on the Environment ((OJ C 138, 17.5.1993.)),

- having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection and the opinions of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and Industrial Policy and the Committee on Research, Technological Development and Energy (A4-0183/97),

A. whereas over 50% of the EU population is constantly exposed to single-source noise levels of between 55 and 65 dB(A) and whereas over 20% are exposed to levels exceeding 65 dB(A),

B. whereas, because of the cross-border nature of noise nuisance, there is a need for an ambitious European noise-reduction policy in view of the fact that noise has a serious effect on health and detracts from the quality of people's lives,

C. whereas it is important, not least from the point of view of competition, to encourage noise-reduction measures,

D. whereas the Fifth Action Programme on the Environment states that people should not be exposed to noise levels which jeopardize their health and their quality of life,

E. whereas a comprehensive, integrated ambient noise reduction programme should include a framework directive incorporating binding practical measures which will provide a response to the constant increase in the number of noise-related complaints from the general public,

F. noting that existing statistics and econometric estimates concerning the real economic consequences and external costs of noise to society

- are inadequate and are not always available from the Member States,

- are not based on a uniform methodological approach,

- correspond to accumulative methods of measuring noise in industrial zones,

G. noting that national policies for addressing the problem vary substantially and need to be coordinated; noting also a frequent lack of coordination between the various Community policies and initiatives regarding the environment, industry, the regions, etc.,

H. noting the lack of reliable, comparable data regarding the situation of the various noise sources,

I. whereas there is a need for integration and coordination between the measures adopted in this area both at Community level and at local, regional and national level,

J. discerning a reluctance on the part of the Commission to propose to the Member States specific measures for preventing and repressing noise,

1. Expresses its support for the Commission Green Paper on future noise policy, and continues to urge that, in the near future, specific measures and initiatives should be laid down in a framework directive on the reduction of ambient noise, in accordance with the Commission's 1996 legislative programme;

2. Supports the Commission's decision to launch a genuine noise abatement programme, taking a first step towards doing so by submitting its Green Paper;

3. For this purpose, urges the Commission to promote the establishment of common methods for measuring and evaluating noise and common exposure indices, relating to both daytime and night-time;

4. Calls on the Commission to seek, and support the development of, uniform methods for measuring and assessing the external costs of noise to society in all Member States, following the example and using the experience of the most advanced states in this sector.

5. Calls on the Commission to coordinate national policies and to provide guidance and technical assistance to the Member States so that they can organize their policies in respect of noise and control the implementation of the measures which they adopt.

6. Calls on the Commission to determine more clearly, within the framework of regulations which it shall propose in future, its methods of tackling noise and to coordinate its various policies in this connection.

7. Calls on the Commission to refrain from adopting legislative provisions, with direct or indirect economic consequences for the state, citizens and industry, without first carrying out a cost-benefit assessment and ensuring that costs are proportionate to the benefits.

8. Calls on the Commission, with a view to approving in future the funding of projects by the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund, to check that the proposed projects meet the required standards for noise prevention and repression together with other environmental standards.

9. In accordance with Community policy on access to information and in view of the general public's enormous sensitivity to noise, calls for 'noise maps' to be drawn up in the Member States for the benefit of the general public and for people's views on the matter to be taken into account;

10. Stresses that an effective ambient noise reduction policy must not be restricted to establishing maximum limits; attempts must also be made to reduce noise at source;

11. Believes that the Commission's legislative proposals on noise abatement should include an obligation on the industries concerned to draw up a plan for minimizing the noise produced by their establishments, where appropriate as part of their environmental management system;

12. Calls on the Commission to lay down the requirement that, should maximum noise levels be exceeded, the Member States must take practical action to reduce them;

13. Calls on the Commission to encourage the harmonization of minimum standards of sound insulation for the frontages of buildings, including windows, in accordance with the activities carried out therein and the area in which they are located;

14. Calls on the Commission to pay special attention to low-frequency noise as it is disturbing even at levels that can hardly be heard;

15. Calls on the Commission to encourage proper territorial planning which is both compatible with the various possible uses to which land can be put and independent of the action to be taken at source, including research and development programmes, the introduction of new technologies, etc.;

16. Calls on the Commission to draw up a plan for the exchange of research and experience in Member States in the field of noise abatement;

17. Also calls on the Commission to look into the prospects of an effective control system to reduce the noise generated by different sources;

18. Firmly believes that, in order to achieve these objectives, the Commission will have to cooperate closely with the local, regional and national authorities of the Member States;

19. Calls on the Member States to address the problem of noise, in cooperation with industry, in a planned and responsible manner, given that the cost of such an exercise is not excessive, while an improvement in working conditions and in the quality of life of citizens will lead in the long term to a reduction of costs and benefit society as a whole;

20. Calls on the Commission to carry out a study into the actual cost of the damage caused by noise, including health costs;

21. Calls for the European Environment Agency to be given the task of collating the 'noise maps' drawn up by the Member States and for it to assess such data regularly and analyse the trends therein;

22. Urges the Commission to include back-up measures in its legislative provisions on noise abatement, such as negotiated agreements with the rail sector or the automobile or aircraft industries, noise-level labelling of tools and equipment, reference to standards, information and awareness- raising programmes amongst the population at large, noise-minimization plans in industrial and other activity, preventive measures to reduce noise in the building of the new high speed train networks, speed limits where appropriate, soundproofing measures inside buildings, taxes and economic incentives, etc;

23. Calls for framework legislation for noise abatement planning; this could determine areas in which noise has now, or is expected to have, a damaging environmental impact; this assessment can then be used to develop an integrated approach to noise abatement by selecting the appropriate measures;

24. Agrees with the Commission's view that economic instruments (such as staggered noise taxes) are effective ways of encouraging noise reduction;

25. Urges the Commission to consider further measures and to take further corrective action to reduce traffic noise, which has been the principal source of noise over the last ten years; calls on the Commission to pay particular attention, in this respect, to tyre noise;

26. Stresses that noise limiting in this field should be based on reducing the volume of transport, which is increasing rapidly, better spatial and urban planning, effective mobility management and transport logistics, and the transfer to non-motorized individual modes of transport (e.g. pedestrians and cyclists) in combination with collective and/or public transport;

27. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to seek, in the future strategy to reduce road traffic noise, an immediate reduction in the limit values for engine and rolling noise and the greater use of low-noise, durable road surfaces;

28. Calls on the Commission to include in the proposal for a framework directive provisions on limiting the noise level of transportable music reproducers (e.g. walkman) and stationary music reproducers;

29. Calls on the Commission to lay down and standardize obligatory standards for aviation to limit aircraft noise and noise levels in the areas around airports, in the light of air transport liberalization and the increasing size of aircraft;

30. Calls on the Commission to submit a proposal for a directive on obligatory standards and the planning of airports on the basis of a European noise pollution system;

31. Is of the opinion that flight movements, particularly at night, are a source of nuisance to people and that they should therefore be reduced;

32. In view of the enlargement of the European Union, urges the Commission to submit once again, within the current year, a directive on rail transport involving a reduction in noise from railways on heavily used lines, with particular regard to the transport of goods;

33. Urges the Commission, in view of the growing impact of road traffic on ambient noise levels, to incorporate noise assessment into all transport- related strategies or programmes;

34. Urges the Commission to devote greater efforts to the 'noise education' of the general public in the Member States, both in schools and by means of information campaigns in the media and to encourage, in addition, a reduction in noise levels within private dwellings;

35. Calls on the Commission to take into account, when it surveys noise pollution and noise abatement, the question of stricter legislation concerning noise at the workplace, including the costs of noise-induced hearing loss;

36. Asks the Commission to ensure that the Fourth R& TD Framework Programme in the field of industrial and materials technologies and of Standards, Measurements and Testing should devote particular attention to reducing noise from equipment and tools used in the building industry;

37. Calls on the Commission to submit, during the current year, the framework directive announced in its 1996 work programme, concerning integrated approximation of the noise emissions of equipment used outdoors;

38. Calls on the Commission to submit proposals for comprehensive legal requirements, for the protection of individuals, on emission limit values for machinery used out of doors, to ensure the general labelling of all relevant machinery and equipment with the guaranteed noise emission value;

39. Calls on the Commission to establish a series of standards applicable to road surfaces, tyres, noise level measurement, anti-noise screens, air conditioning equipment, fridges and other equipment with regard to noise abatement, and asks the European Standards Committee (ESC) to carry out the requisite work;

40. Calls on the Commission and Member States to ensure that current noise abatement measures are complied with and monitored;

41. Calls on the Commission to create a suitable framework in the fifth R& TD framework programme for the development of noise prediction and assessment techniques, as a field of pre-legislative research of particular relevance to EU legislation;

42. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.