top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon

France warned by European Commission on noise levels

France has been warned by the European Commission to reduce its national noise levels on pain of further warnings and even sanctions.

This week, Brussels demanded that France instantly adopt its action points on the reduction of “ambient noise”, after the country was found to be in breach of the 2002 directive on the issue, reports French newspaper Le Monde.

The directive demands that all EU nation states must measure and reduce noise levels in large towns, along main roads and railway tracks, and around large airports, and keep them within the European limits.

These are set at 68 decibels during the day and 62 decibels at night.

France has been found in breach of these levels in “58 urban centres, along a large number of its main roads and main railway routes, and at major airports”, the Commission said.

It condemned France for not having “correctly measured all of the large infrastructure centres across it territory”, and gave the country two months to “rectify this situation”.

Since 2016, the European Commission has brought complaints against 13 member states on the subject of noise in the environment.

The Commission warns that noise, especially that from traffic, trains or planes is the “second largest cause of premature death [among nearby residents] after atmospheric pollution”.

This is because excess or constant noise causes humans to experience a lower quality of sleep and increased stress.

“Noise affects stress and sleep, and there is a demonstrable link between road noise and the risk of increased heart attacks,” explained Antoine Perez Munoz of Bruitparif, speaking to Le Monde.

Bruitparif is the noise regulator and operator in Ile-de-France, which is one of the departments in the country most affected by noise pollution.

“France has been slow at detailing its maps and its action plans,” Perez Munoz admitted. “On average, noise pollution causes seven months’ loss of good health or life per person, and up to two years’ loss for someone living in a very noisy area.”

If France does not satisfy the European Commission within the next two months on the issue, it could be sent a further warning, after which any future breaches could see it summoned before the European Union Court of Justice to receive further possible sanctions.

Stay informed:
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Income Tax in France 2023 (for 2022 income)*
Featured Help Guide
- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - but also contains significant general information pertinent to readers of other nationalities - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
Get news, views and information from France