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Teaming up to cut noise across Europe

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The impacts of unwanted noise can range from mild disturbance to serious disease. At a prestigious ceremony in London last night, the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the Noise Abatement Society (NAS) announced a new European noise award, which will recognise innovative solutions to noise problems. Today, the EEA also publishes a set of guidelines on the health impacts of noise.

 Image © Joakim, http://picasaweb.google.com/

Noise pollution affects many Europeans. Approximately 56 million people are exposed to excessive noise from road traffic alone in Europe’s largest cities. Exposure to unwanted noise can cause stress and interfere with basic activities such as sleep, rest and study. But prolonged exposure can also trigger illnesses as serious as hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

NAS has for the last 10 years awarded ‘Noise Oscars’ to UK initiatives that help reduce excessive noise. They are now teaming up with the EEA to raise awareness and reward initiatives all over Europe. A new European noise award will be presented for the first time in November 2011. Any product, campaign, innovation or scheme offering a creative solution to a noise problem can be nominated for the award.

Guidance on health impacts

The Environmental Noise Directive (END) requires EU Member States to produce noise maps and action plans to reduce noise impacts. The EEA Expert Panel on Noise has prepared a Good Practice Guide on noise exposure and potential health effects, which can help national, regional and local authorities to prepare action plans by concisely explaining how to quantify health impacts.

New data on noise

The EEA has recently updated and improved its Noise Observation and Information Service for Europe (NOISE) database. It now contains noise data for EEA member countries up to 30 June 2010. The data can be viewed in a user-friendly interactive map tool or can be downloaded in a variety of formats. For the first time, the map viewer also displays local noise contour maps for selected areas.

Background information

The Agency established the Expert Panel on Noise (EPoN) in January 2009 to facilitate the implementation and development of Europe’s noise policy. The panel consists of national noise experts who advise the EEA and the European Commission on assessing and managing environmental noise.

 

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100