New findings support that the adverse health effects due to air pollution (ultra-fine particles, particulate matter mass, ozone, nitrogen oxides, etc) close to major roads in the Netherlands are larger than those of general pollution in the urban area. Population living and working close to major transport infrastructure may be at risk due to increased levels of air pollution and noise. ENTEC under contract with the Commission has developed a methodology and made a first assessment of population at risk close to major transport infrastucture technical annex to the contract and final report and annexes).
According to the study close to nine percent of the EU population would live closer than 200 meters from a major road with more than 3 million vehicles per yer. And as many as a 25 percent of the EU population would live closer than 500 meters from such a major road. The study also concludes that there is an increased population exposure of air pollution from the individual major road but that the increase is rather small except at very close distance.
For noise the study provides preliminary estimates that about 14 percent of the EU population lives closer than 300 meters from a major road with more than 3 million vehicles per year and it is estimated that close to three percent of the EU population have road noise above 65 dB(A) Lden (such levels are associated with significant levels of annoyance, sleep disturbance and cardiovasular effects).
Estimations of exposure to transport related ambient noise will be refined later on since Member states will have to report more refined estimates to the EC on the basis of strategic noise maps required by the Directive 2002/49/EC (first set of maps are due by 30 June 2007).