About this consultation

Consultation period
28 March 2018 - 20 June 2018

Target group

This questionnaire contains questions aimed at a general public giving the citizens or citizens' associations a chance to express their views on the reduction of rail freight noise, including via retrofitting, without going into technical details.

The European Commission intends to consult expert stakeholders (e.g. infrastructure managers, railway undertakings, wagon keepers, wagon owners, corporate umbrella organisations, research organisations or public authorities) with a targeted consultation in the second quarter of 2018. A number of targeted consultation activities will be carried out by an external consultant in the course of the support study.

Objective of the consultation

This consultation aims at supporting the evaluation of a measure tackling the rail freight noise issue in the EU via noise differentiated track access charges (NDTAC) schemes established under Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/429.

Your responses will help us assess the implementation and effects of the existing NDTAC schemes.

Based on the results of the evaluation, the Commission may, if necessary, decide to revise the existing legal framework. It is therefore important that you complete this questionnaire as fully as possible.

How to submit your response

The questionnaire is made available in English, French, German and Dutch. Responses can be submitted in any official EU language.

Please note that in order to ensure a fair and transparent consultation process only responses received through the online questionnaire will be taken into account and included in the summary report.

Additional information

Railways, and especially the rail freight traffic, are after the road transport, the second most important source of noise in Europe. At present the most effective way to mitigate rail noise is by tackling it at source by retrofitting the existing freight wagons with composite brake blocks. This technical solution diminishes rail noise by up to 10 dB, which equals to a 50% reduction in audible noise for humans. The retrofitted wagons and any new wagons fulfilling EU noise standards are called "silent wagons."

Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/429 provides the legal framework for noise differentiated track access charges (NDTAC). The prime objective of the Regulation is

  1. to contribute to the improvement of the well-being of the EU citizens via the reduction of rail noise and
  2. to reduce the risks to the competitiveness of the rail freight sector by incentivising retrofitting.

The retrofitting is incentivised in first place through lower track access charges allowing for the recuperation of costs linked to installation of composite brake blocks.