The European Parliament today voted for a new law to cut noise from cars, vans, trucks and buses. Constant exposure to traffic noise can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure, according to the World Health Organisation. The current vehicle noise standards date back to 1995 and urgently need updating to improve health and quality of life.
However, Plaid MEP Jill Evans warned that the plans could pose a danger to some pedestrians unless complementary measures are taken. Blind and partially sighted people would not hear silent electric and hybrid cars unless an artificial engine noise was a mandatory requirement for cars manufactured in the European Union, as it is in the United States from 2015.
Speaking following the vote, Jill Evans MEP said:
“Whilst I welcome the first stage of this new law which will improve the health and quality of life of people in Wales, I regret that the noise limits were watered down due to industry lobbying.
"I am pleased too that the danger quiet vehicles pose to pedestrians who are blind or partially sighted has been recognised. I have been contacted by many constituents on this matter including Guide Dogs Cymru who have shown that electric and hybrid cars travelling under 20 mph can be heard less than a second before impact. I have given my full backing to their 'Safe and Sound' campaign. We must ensure that in future all vehicles are audible to blind or partially sighted pedestrians."