MEPs back stricter road tyre noise limits

Strasbourg plenary session endorses environment committee drive to dampen the decibels

Tyre manufacturers should be forced to produce road tyres that meet stricter noise requirements than proposed by EU ministers, MEPs decided yesterday. In its plenary assembly in Strasbourg this week, the European Parliament called for 2 decibels (dB) to be shaved off all new noise limits agreed in a governmental common position in April. The demand is likely to lead to conciliation talks to agree limits acceptable to both sides.

The parliament endorsed the position adopted by its environment committee last week to lower the agreed limits, which range from 72 to 79 dB depending the vehicle type and road surface (ENDS Daily 31 August).

Parliament's rapporteur on the issue, Dutch Green MEP Alexander de Roo, welcomed the decision. "Noise caused by tyres of cars or trucks driving faster than 40km/h...is one of the most important sources of noise pollution. As 95% of motor vehicles already achieve the Council of Ministers' offer to limit tyre noise the proposal does not go far enough. This is possible without jeopardising tyre safety."

Last week, industry sources contradicted Mr de Roo, saying tighter limits on noise could affect tyre safety by reducing performance in wet weather and stressing that quieter road surfaces were more important. Experts says a further noise reduction of 3 to 4 dB would be possible if so-called "whispering asphalt" were introduced.

Follow Up:
European Parliament, tel: +32 2 284 2111, and its amendments to the common position.

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