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CALM noise reduction workshop lands in Hungary

Over 80 participants, representing EU Member States, the Commission, and academic, research and business institutions, met to discuss noise research on 13 September 2006 in Budapest. The CALM initiative is the result of close collaborative efforts between EU Research and Environment Directorates.

CALM workshop
High turnout

Public surveys now show that environmental noise is as big a perceived problem as global warming. With air traffic set to continue increasing, noise pollution from aircraft could add to this already troubling statistic. Intensive research is now urgently needed, and the EU-funded CALM network is examining noise abatement research in a cross-section of industrial sectors. CALM encompasses all transport modes and is coordinating European efforts and providing guidance to transport and environment policy-makers.

“Policy and research are linked like chicken and egg,” says EU Project Officer Per Kruppa. “We are currently undertaking more than 20 projects aimed at reducing air transport-related noise, representing an important financial commitment, all in support of EU noise policy. So, something is being done about environmental noise and we have been very impressed with the level and quality of co-operation between EU Research and Environment Directorates.”

Getting together on noise reduction

Per Kruppa
Per Kruppa

The aims of the CALM workshop were to provide information, especially to the New Member States (NMSs), on current noise research in Europe, and to promote the involvement of NMS partners in the upcoming EU Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7), scheduled to run from 2007-2013.

“We are here to let Hungary and the other New Member States know exactly what we are doing about environmental noise,” explained CALM coordinator Joseph Affenzeller of AVL List. “And for the rest of us, the more established Members States that are already well integrated in the European Research Area, this is an occasion to make first contact, to see what the NMSs have to offer and where we can establish new and fruitful collaborative ties.”

The event featured major presentations by high-level delegates on the following themes:

  • Research activities in the New Member States;
  • Developing research activities to support EU noise policy;
  • The Seventh Framework Programme for RTD.
Delia Dimitriu
Delia Dimitriu

Delia Dimitriu of Manchester Metropolitan University discussed NMS capabilities in the aerospace sector. For the New Member States, many of which are still going through major restructuring in the post-communist era, making a real contribution is a challenge but also an opportunity. “One of your most difficult tasks for the future,” she said, “is to accommodate a sharp increase in air transport demand in your countries.”

Special challenges

Delegates from the NMSs described the unique challenges they face in tackling environmental issues. Miklos Szoboszlay of Hungary’s Ministry of Economy and Transport explained his country’s efforts to keep up with rising public expectations in the face of political upheaval. “We saw an enormous dip in the amount of research being carried out in our country after the political transformation at the end of the 1980s. We are now working our way back from that low point, enforcing new noise limits and restrictions that will bring us into line with the other Member States.“

Fueloep Augusztinovicz of Budapest University added key advice to would-be EU researchers. “You have to be at the cutting edge of something to participate in FP7,” he said. “Having good personal contacts is another factor, but your unique knowledge and your ability to contribute will ultimately make the difference. For the more established Member States,” he added, “the NMSs represent a still underexploited resource, with lots of fresh ideas and, let’s face it, a cheaper labour force.”

Affenzeller closed the meeting by thanking all the speakers and participants and encouraging everyone to “get together and network!”.