Germany clamps down on aircraft noise

Environment ministry unveils draft law to cut noise exposures in and around airports

The German government is to introduce drastic new curbs on aircraft noise around airports, it was announced on Tuesday. Under a draft law unveiled by environment minister Jürgen Trittin, maximum noise levels around airports would be cut to between 60 and 65 decibels compared with current limits of 67 and 75 decibels. Expanded noise protection zones and better sound-proofing for buildings around airports would also be required. Night-time noise limits in residential areas would be cut from around 60 decibels currently to 50 decibels.

Mr Trittin said the proposals were designed to tackle the health effects of aircraft noise. According to new research, people exposed to noise levels above 65 decibels suffer stress and a higher risk of heart problems. "There has been no change to aircraft noise regulations since 1971. We need an up-to-date law to protect people from increasing levels of air traffic," Mr Trittin added.

Germany's aviation industry has criticised the proposals. The national airports federation ADV argued that the new law would create "significant difficulties" for the sector.

Follow Up:
German environment ministry, tel: +49 30 28550.

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