Over 40% of the French population suffer from excessive noise, yet spending to address the problem accounts for only 3% of national environmental spending, or 0.06% of national gross domestic product, according to a survey released today by the official French Environment Institute (Ifen). France nevertheless spends three times more on noise than the EU average, measured again as a proportion of all environment spending, Ifen reports. According to the survey, about one-third of French households say that they suffer from traffic noise, while over 12% of the population are exposed to noise over 65 decibels in their homes. Capital investment plays a particularly important role in addressing noise problems, according to Ifen. It calculates that investments make up 60% of total noise spending, compared with 10% for waste, 20% for air pollution and 40% for wastewaters. Over half of French spending on noise concerns the rehabilitation or construction of residential buildings to meet noise control norms. Replacement of defective motor vehicle exhaust silencers accounts for one-fifth of noise spending, it reports, while road architecture and industrial spending both account for about 10% of expenditure. Industry spends about euros 366m (FF2.4bn) annually on noise control, accounting for nearly half of all noise related expenditure, according to Ifen. Meanwhile, households spend about euros 305m, most of which goes on fitting double glazed windows.
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