UIC Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux was invited by DG ENV to speak at the high-level Noise in Europe conference at the Charlemagne building in Brussels on 24 April 2017.
Recent evidence indicates that one in four EU citizens are affected by environmental noise resulting in almost 16,000 premature deaths per year. To address this, the European Commission is currently evaluating existing regulation and developing new policy proposals concerning transport noise. In support of these processes, DG ENV organised a high-level to seek perspectives from a range of stakeholders.
Key note introductions were given by Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport and Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. These were followed by opening speeches by Daniel Calleja, Director General, European Commission – DG Environment, Elizabet Paunovic, Head of WHO European Centre for Environment and Health, Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director, European Environment Agency (EEA), John Ryan, Director, European Commission – DG Health and Food Safety.
In his address to the session on Strategy for effective noise control, Mr Loubinoux highlighted initiatives and actions and investments by the rail sector to develop noise solutions including the STAIRRS (www.stairrs.org ) project and EuropeTrain (http://europetrain.uic.org) projects. Regarding funding, Mr loubinoux commented:
It is no co-incidence that where strong financial support has been proved, action to reduce noise from wagons has been swift – the clearest examples of this are government funding in Switzerland and Germany. It is clear that with greater levels of funding we would see faster progress across Europe. There are a number of examples from other sectors, including both inland shipping and roads where scrappage incentives have been successfully used. We believe something similar to this would be both welcome and effective.
The UIC noise expert network continues to manage a number of technical development projects to support cost effective noise management and works closely with the CER (Community of European Railways) to promote well informed policy.