IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE - The information on this site is subject to a disclaimer and a copyright notice
Banner Research
  European Commission   > Research > Growth
Homepage Competitive and Sustainable Growth - Making the European Research Area a Reality
Graphic element
Graphic element
Graphic element
Graphic element Research > Growth > Research projects > Land & marine transport projects > New research network targets noise
Graphic element New research network targets noise
Rush hour traffic is a major source of noise pollution
Graphic element

In spite of existing EU and national legislation aimed at controlling noise pollution, public concern about the subject remains high. The European Commission is currently preparing a new Directive on the assessment and management of environmental noise, with a view to creating a quieter and more pleasant environment for European citizens. The newly created CALM network is working to define a strategic plan for future noise research that will support the transposition of this directive to the national level and further the ongoing development of a comprehensive EU noise policy.

According to one estimate, around 20% of the population of Western Europe suffer from noise levels that experts consider unacceptable. Noise is defined as unwanted sound - sound that is loud, unpleasant or unexpected, and the negative effects of noise can range from simple annoyance to more serious ailments such as high blood pressure, mental stress and damage to hearing.

European noise policy

Previous European attempts to limit noise have consisted of legislation fixing maximum sound levels for certain types of vehicles, including cars and aeroplanes, but while impact assessments show that noise from individual vehicles has been considerably reduced, the problem is still with us, thanks to the increase and spread of traffic.

The 1993 Fifth Environmental Action Programme included noise abatement targets to be achieved by the year 2000. When this programme was reviewed in 1995, the Commission announced the introduction of a noise abatement programme, the first stage of which was the 1996 Green Paper on Future Noise Policy . It concluded that a more harmonised approach was called for among the Member States. As a response to this ongoing problem, a new European Directive on the assessment and management of environmental noise is now in the final stages of development.

Turning down the volume - the CALM network

With the support of the European Commission, the CALM thematic network has been created, aimed at promoting and coordinating Community noise research. Launched in October 2001, it will operate for three years and will base its final plan on reports generated by expert noise working groups and in co-operation with relevant industrial sectors, research institutions and interested organisations. Special emphasis will be placed on noise caused by road traffic, railway transport, aircraft and outdoor machinery, but the network will also be concerned with the related issues of noise propagation, noise exposure, and understanding the adverse effects of noise, especially in cities.

The CALM network coordinator is Josef Affenzeller of AVL List GmbH in Austria. AVL List is an independent company developing power train systems with internal combustion engines, with special expertise in measurement and assessment systems. Other members of the CALM network include experts from various member states that are helping the European Commission in the preparation and implementation of the new noise policy.

According to Affenzeller, "The basic idea is to create a strategy plan for Community noise research, to help make the vision of a quieter Europe a reality." The CALM network will play an important linking role between industrial and legislative bodies. The pressure is going to be on industry to live up to the new restrictions, and only the successful development of new technologies is going to allow them to do so. CALM will be seeking to identify research topics based on the most promising technologies in the field, insuring that Europe's best research resources work in a coordinated and efficient way to get the desired results in terms of lower levels of noise pollution.

"The ultimate reward," says Affenzeller, "will be greater peace and quiet for people living in Europe, and not just in cities. The new legislation will also have an impact on rural areas, checking the noise emitted by road transport, trains, aeroplanes and a variety of outdoor machinery, from machinery used in construction right down to lawn mowers."

Those looking for more information on community noise issues can soon visit the CALM network's interactive website at: .

European noise policy
Turning down the volume - the CALM network

Key data

Actions aimed at developing quieter, more environmentally friendly vehicles are supported under the Growth Programme's key actions in 'New perspectives in aeronautics' and 'Land transport and marine technologies' .


CALM - Community noise research strategy plan (G4RT-2001-05043).


Homepage Graphic element Top of the page