Autumn meeting Essen
On 17 and 18 October 2017 Working Group Noise met in Essen during 1,5 day. The meeting started the 17th in the afternoon with a welcome by Ms Angelika Siepman manager of the Environmental Department of the city of Essen. She welcomed the attendees on behalf of the City of Essen, which is Europe’s Green Capital this year. Quite an accomplishment, given the history of the Essen region as a centre of surface coal mining and steel industry. After the decline of that kind of industry Essen developed into a financial centre with a mixture of all kinds of small and medium businesses, mainly service oriented. Essen is part of the Ruhr Metropolis; with 5.1 million inhabitants the third largest conurbation in Europe, after London and Paris. After the welcome, the approval of the agenda, the minutes of last meeting and the action list participants introduced themselve. This meeting a high number of participants was joining the meeting (including the presenters and hosts 36!). By Professor dr. Ms Susanne Moebus a presentation was given about noise and health. She clearly demonstrated the relation between social status and health. Multiple aspects influence health adversely: poverty, poor housing, unemployment, poor neighbourhood, lack of education and environmental health hazards (downwind, downstream and downhill). Recent evidence, often obtained with more sophisticated research techniques and analyses than before, corroborates earlier findings on effects of noise: noise leads to less sleep quality, to a higher risk to cardiovascular disease, to cognitive impairment, and endangers mental health. This last effect was found in a follow-up study, starting in 2000 and still in progress. One of the options for reducing adverse health effects of noise, might be soundscaping. This has to be studies further.
Under the same agenda point Ms Joerdis Wothge presented the process followed to arrive at new WHO guidelines on environmental noise. First she described the scale of the problem inside the European area. In summary, at least one million healthy years of life are lost due to road traffic noise in Western Europe. Guidelines have to be based on scientific evidence on both health effects and effectiveness of interventions to reduce exposure and improve health. New sources (after road, aircraft and railroad noise) are wind turbine noise and leisure noise. Also the guideline groups and the main steps of the process were presented. Systematic reviews were carried out regarding: Cardiovascular diseases, effects of sleep, cognitive impairment, hearing impairment and tinnitus, diabetes and metabolic effects, adverse birth outcomes, quality of life, mental health and wellbeing, and interventions. A target audience was defined. Hopefully the full draft report with recommendations will be finalised by the end of this year or in early spring 2018.
Then Mr Paviotti presented the progress of the evaluation report of the Environmental Noise Directive. He defined the problem: Health of more than 100 million people in the EU is seriously affected by noise. Therefore ambitious goals are developed:
- significantly decrease noise pollution in the Union,
- moving closer to levels recommended by the WHO,
- by 2020.
The Environmental Noise Directive (END) has to be instrumental in achieving these goals. The question is: is it?
The answer of the European Commission is yes, but a lot of work still has to be done:
- not all member states have yet adopted noise limit values,
- only 13 member states have designated quiet areas;
- less than 80% of the required noise maps are completed;
- less than 50% of the required noise action plans are completed.
The main reasons for these delays are:
- lack of human/financial resources,
- often very decentralized approaches,
- lack of enforcement mechanisms,
- insufficient public consultation.
Despite the difficulties yet to overcome, the END is regarded as fit for its purpose, because each Euro, invested in noise abatement measures, brings 29 Euros benefit in terms of saved life years.
In the future noise abatement/prevention has to play a bigger role in urban planning than it does now. Awareness raising is essential in this procesBY EUROCITIES office (Mr Pier Saraceno) the next issues were presented:
The European Commission invited EUROCITIES (WG Noise) to take part in the Noise Expert Group beyond Member States.
Next meeting of the EUROCITIES Environment Forum will be in Amsterdam, 4-6 April 2018.
Options for taking part in, or developing future projects with support of EUROCITIES were presented. E.g. HORIZON 2020, SC5-14-2019, SC1-BHC-28-2019 (these calls are sent to all WG Noise members).
The last presentation was done by Enrico Gallo (via skype) on OPenoise. QGis is a modern geographic information system, building on older software such as GRASS or ARC. openNoise is a plugin in QGIS to calculate the sound level by road traffic at buildings. The new version has some new features and links with CNOSSOS, and is still faster than other tools. The new version has to be tested and further developed, by including reflection and 3D, and add other languages than the now available English, Italian and Spanish.
The second day a joint meeting with the Working Group Waste Management was held. The presentations by representatives of Oslo, Utrecht, Florence and Essen demonstrate that most complaints centre on noise from waste collection vehicles (engine noise, driving backwards – the beeps -, compressing the waste), and the time of collection (very early or very late). Additional issues are street cleaning and emptying underground waste containers. Technical adaptations reduce the complaints/annoyance partially. Waste collection and street cleaning are not only an environmental, but also an occupational health hazard. Old city centres form a special challenge because of the dense population, great number of (small) businesses, narrow streets and many visitors. As a consequence cities have to develop different modes of waste collection for different areas. A list with presented noise interventions will be drafted soon by WG Noise.
By Ms Claire Phuelpin (BAFU) the provisional outcomes of a questionnaire survey about noise and vibrations from construction sites were presented. The goal was, to assemble an overview of the politics and good practices in handling construction noise and vibrations in Europe. Sixteen authorities (national, regional, and local) answered the questionnaire. Most have binding regulations, but some have only guidelines, or only inform the public. Good practices include both technical and operational measures. Some authorities confine regulations only to the permission stage, others carry out inspections during the construction period, mainly if complaints are received. Traffic towards and away from the construction site was seldom taken into account. No “outstanding” good practices were identified; it is a matter of combining different measures. Possibilities of 3D-printing on the construction site and compensation measures were discussed. In Utrecht pile driving is prohibited, only drilling or pushing piles is allowed. A recall will be send out to all EUROCITIES members to fill out the questionnaire.
Ms Julia Meuller presented a comparison between CNOSSOS and the current German assessment of noise VBUS reveals major and worrying differences. These call for
- consistent application in Europe is questionable;
- European quality assurance;
- more precise description for CNOSSOS-EU with uniform input data;
- CNOSSOS-DE and national calculation methods should lie close together;
- comparative calculations between CNOSSOS-DE and national methods.
Next to Germany also Belgium and the Netherlands are testing CNOSSOS, and Finland will be testing soon. This will be on the agenda during next meeting.
After this, Ms Angelika Siepmann presented the definition and selection process of quiet areas in Essen. Most permanent noise sources are included in thev selection process, but not festivals because their limited time consumption. At the end of 2014 quiet areas were provisionally determined in a total of 85 km2, but the refugee crisis made a revision necessary, and on 27.09.2017 the council decided on a size of 62,3 km2. The quiet areas are protected by the city of Essen, but this might eventually be overruled by third parties.
Ms Raffaella Bellomini presented the LIFE MONZA project. This project aims to define a guideline describing a procedure applicable in different contexts for the definition, the identification and the management of a Noise Low Emission Zone..
In the project will be implemented and tested intervention techniques strongly involving the population.
Within the project activities, implementation and testing of a new low noise monitoring system will be carried out and tested in the pilot area in the long period, also after the project’s end.
For the monitoring of the environmental impact in the pilot area, indicators will be set taking into account both the noise and air quality as well as the welfare conditions of the population
By Mr Martin Drepps tramway noise was presented. The so called Ruhrbahn has been equipped a number of trams with a device that lubricated the rails in order to reduce squealing. The lubricant works for about four hours, is non-toxic, does not endanger two-wheeled vehicles (sliding) and is environmental friendly. After his presentation a vist was brought to the rail top factory.
Ms Chiara Bartalucci made a comprehensive inventory of existing surveys on tramway noise and presented earlier attempts to set up a permanent working group/partnership (cities and experts) to deal with tram noise. These attempts did not succeed. HORIZON 2020 offers interesting options for renewed attempts
Ms Angelika Siepmann presented the experiences of Essen with quiet areas. Essen serves as a pilot city in the Nordrhein-Westfalen region for developing a device to enhance public participation in developing Noise Action Plans, with the use of modern communication channels. In order to involves many people (also the non-organised) as possible. The first results are positive. A similar project was running in Berlin and was presented during the Lyon meeting.
Results of the roundtable noise mapping and noise action planning are:
Dublin is busy with the 3rd round and is helping the whole country in meeting the requirements of the END. Produced noise maps, noise action plans and tools for traffic management. Plans to build a second runway at Dublin Airport causes much debate.
Florence will complete the 3rd round of mapping this year. Many changes are going on: a new tramway line, and a change in the direction of the runways of Florence airport.
Milan is no longer competent authority; the province of Lombardy took over. This includes 20 municipalities. The 3rd round is late. Due to the fact that the Lombardy authorities still has to decide who gets the work.
Gothenburg reported some delay but the maps will probably be finalised this year, and the NAP’s in 2018. Many construction works, that will go on until 2010, cause many changes.
Nacka has no obligations to comply to the END because the agglomeration counts less than 100.000 inhabitants, but still the city want to develop noise maps and NAPs.
In Switzerland the definition of agglomerations has changed, but still work will be completed in time.
Paris/Bruitparif has nearly finalised the noise maps for the whole agglomeration (over 10 million inhabitants), and NAPs will be finished before summer 2018. Noise monitoring systems are tested, and measurements are combined with modelling. The Grand Paris Express (a new high capacity automatic metro bypass) implies many construction sites.
In The Hague the maps of the 3rd round will probably be approved within weeks. They will be made available to the public. After the crisis traffic has intensified again, so exposure increased, especially in the lower noise exposure regions. New NAPs will be available before summer 2018.
In Oslo the maps will be approved within weeks. Noise in Oslo is increasing, causing lots of small difficulties.
The Flemish government is responsible for the maps and NAPs in Antwerp. A new tramway causes extra exposure in some areas.
Amsterdam has finalized the noise map 3rd round. Is shows a steep increase in exposure, partly explained by acknowledging that the old calculation model was not correct. The growth of Amsterdam Airport also leads to more (air and road) traffic. Festivals are banned from city parks towards industrial sites.
Rotterdam has finalised the noise maps. Exposure levels are increased, but annoyance stayed about equal. Less quiet road surfaces are applied in high exposure zones now, and more in lower exposure zones. A first draft of the new NAP is due in November and will be finalised in March. At the moment stakeholders are being interviewed.
Utrecht reported a delayed 3rd round. Recent data demonstrate a steep increase of exposure levels compared to 5 years ago. As in Amsterdam, the increase is (at least partly) due to the use of a more sophisticated model. Hopefully the maps will be finalised this year.
In Essen the maps were finalised in September. New NAPs are being developed.
By Mr Mattia Grampella an update on the DYNAMAP project was given. DYNAMAP is aiming at developing a dynamic noise mapping system able to detect and represent in real time the acoustic climate due to road infrastructures. A low cost sensors system should it make possible to automatically update the noise maps in real time. Secondary goals are:
- to monitor and report the information related to other environmental parameters, such as those related to air quality, meteorological conditions, traffic, etc.
- to facilitate public information and communication.
The meeting ended with the outlook of the spring meeting 2018 of WGN will be held in Florence, 12 and 13 April. Members are invited to come up with agenda points
Spring meeting Zagreb (old)
On 11 and 12 May Working Group Noise was hosted by the city of Zagreb. On the first day, the participants were welcomed by Ms Nevanka Preradovic head of the Energy, Environment, and Sustainable Development department of the city. Another welcome was done by Mr Zeljko Placonic of the Croation ministry of health. By Ms Sandra Hamin a brief overview was given of the noise policies of Zagreb and also policies on the central level.
After the formalities like the introduction, approval of the agenda, the minutes of the previous meeting and the continuous action list a round table was organised about progress, problems encountered and solutions found during the second round of noise mapping and noise action planning and the preparations for the third round which is started now. The yield of this round was a bit scattered. Most of the cities completed the noise maps of the second round and also sent in the action plans. The implementation of the interventions and measures mentioned in the action plans is often delayed. Regarding the third round, it appeared that some cities made good progress and are on course, some are delayed and some have not started yet. Reasons for the delay or inaction seem to be diverse, mentioned was a lack of financial and human resources, lack of interest among policy makers and politicians. This is something to work on, supporting and encouraging cities to make progress and action in mitigating and reducing noise and hindrance should be part of the position of EUROCITIES’ working group noise in which it will collaborate with the European Commission and other stakeholders. The project round table was poor, just one project was presented because the presenter of the INAD and MONICA project was impeded because of illness.
In the afternoon the Rimac automobile factory was visited. Rimac manufactures electric cars and electric bikes. Almost all parts of the cars and the e-bikes are produced by the factory itself. In the evening a guided city trip through Zagreb downtown was organized.
The second day started with a wrap-up of the decisions and actions made during the first day. After this wrap-up, a presentation of the Zagreb masterplan on transport was given by Mr Damir Kapudjia. From 2001 until 2011 traffic increases drastically due to ecomic reasons. Zagreb promotes the use of sustainable transport and works on bike lanes these days. The number of bike lanes is increasing. The main dish during this meeting was served by Mr Marco Paviotti who presented the outcomes of the evaluation of the Environmental Noise Directive (END). He emphasized that cities should take their responsibilities and should make work of noise reduction seriously. He referred to the speech of the co-chair of the EUROCITIES Environmental Forum who stated that the END should be more muscled. Not only towards the cities and other competent bodies but also towards the other DG’s of the European Commission. The memorandum, drafted by WGN, was briefly explained by the chair. He invited the members to respond to this memorandum within one week. By Pier Saraceno the schedule for the position paper was presented and he also asked for direction. What exactly must be addressed to the European Commission and the European Parliament? He and the chair will work on the position paper, starting within two weeks. By Ms Dorota Jaroskinska, working for the World Health Organisation, the progress of the guideline noise and health was presented. This guideline is under revision now. She reported some findings of the revision process. there seems to be sufficient evidence for the health effects and long-term exposure to road traffic noise. For railway noise, this relation is somewhat poorer and for wind turbines and leisure noise, nothing can be concluded yet. She could not guarantee that the revised guideline will be published end of 2017. By Professor Ms Vesna Posloncec a thesis conducted by some of her students was presented. The student using Noise-Tube on their smartphone measured noise in Zagreb in order to compose a noise map based on noise measurements conducted with smartphones. We concluded that there was some room for improvement, although this innovative approach seems to have the future. Residents could be seen as walking sensors.
AUTUMN MEETING MUNICH
On 14 and 15 September the autumn meeting of Working Group Noise EUROCITIES was held in Munich. The meeting was hosted by the city of Munich and Müller-BBM. The office of Müller-BBM in Planegg, near Munich was the meeting venue. After the welcome on behalf of EUROCITIES the attendees were welcomed by Professor Joachim Scheuren, director of Müller-BBM. After the welcome Ms Silvia Franzl, head of the environment and health department of the Munich municipality. She explaned that the city of Munich is expanding on a limited space, thus leading to more noise, especially traffic noise. Therefore the noise problem is high on the political agenda. Hereafter, Mr Kemmather presented the components of the Munich noise policies, concentrating on road traffic noise. This policies addresses: traffic related measures, planning and construction measures, and funding programs.Traffic related measures employed in Munich are:
- Traffic control measures (30 km speed limit zones, parking facility management, phased traffic lights (green wave)
- Influencing the choice of transport mode (promoting public transport, more Park and Ride, and Bike and Ride facilities, promoting cycling)
Planning measures are: closing gaps between buildings, situating noise-sensitive rooms at quiet side of buildings, undertunneling a part of the ring roads, creating bypass roads, implementing low-noise road surfaces. Funding programs include granting funds in order to implement expensive noise protection measures at residential buildings (shutters, and sound insulating windows).
After approval of the agenda, the minutes and the continuous action list and the introduction of all participants, the round table on noise mapping and noise action planning was held. It appeared that most of the cities already work on the 3rd round noise mapping preparations. In some cities attention is paid to city parks and restricted areas. Other cities have applied quiet road sufaces (quiet asphalt) or redeveloped urban spaces together with the introduction of the 30km zone. A few cities have problems with getting up-to-date and reliable traffic data. Tramway noise could become an important issue which implies that the NOMETRAM action could get more attention than so far. Rotterdam decided to make a separate noise map of tram noise. Antwerp will carry out a small test with CNOSSOS and UBA is also working on it.
After the round table a workshop was held about the strategy of WGN. This was led by Martin Fitzpatrick. Each group had to answer the following questions:
- What do we consider to be the top 2 (or 3) priorities for the year to come?
- What can I personally do to implement these priorities?
After a lively discussion the groups defined produced a rather consistent pattern of priorities. Strategic priorities, to be addressed by all each time an opportunity offers itself:
- Advancing projects on non-END noise sources. The initial activity will concentrate on construction noise.
- Strengthening ties with WHO, so as to ensure that the updated report on noise and health from WHO is disseminated and promoted in the cities we represent.
WGN will seek to influence the REFIT process to ensure that the experience of our cities is taken into account for future policy. Alongside this WGN will seek opportunities to feed into the CNOSSOS process using studies conducted by third parties.
Rotterdam presented the Declaration on Better Tyres. By the vice-mayor of Rott3erdam an invitation was sent to all EUROCITIES members to sign this declaration implying that municipal fleets shall be provided with better tyres whcih are quieter, cleaner, safer and more fuel efficient. A lot of money can be saved (€36 billion/a in EU. See also www.better-tyres-now.eu .
Mr Hintzsche (UBA) presented the German approach towards noise mapping, and noise action planning. Also German noise abatement regulations are pointed out, as the general framework in which the action plans should fit.By the Dutch Road Authority (RWS) a presentation was done about a noise barrier that has bi-facial solar panels. This LIFE project called Solar-Highways. By the municipality of Milan the DYNAMAP project was presented. DYNAMAP is an project that is aimed to dynamic noise mapping, see the project website. Much can be learnt from the noise sensor network and source recognition device developed in the project by La Salle University. By DCMR/Rotterdam a lecture was given about behaviour change which was partly a recap of one of the previous studies om Gaining Political Interest. The other part was about changing residentents behaviour. All factors influencing behaviour and possible methods to influence human behaviour were explained.
By VienRose, representing the municipal of Florence, the INAD 2017 (International Noise Awareness Day)was presented.Main events will be (at EU level; other events can be organized at a local level):
- Scientific workshop
- Dedicated webpage
- Interactive app
- Promo presentation
- Events in museums
- Pan-European competition
- Noise and sound mail boxes
- Dedicated tv programs
- Central cultural event
- Screening of “in pursuit of silence”
The last point was the next meeting which will be held in Zagreb on 11 and 12 May. Th introduction was done by Ms Sandra Hamin from Zagreb.
The second day a field trip was made in Pasing a distruict of Munich. Mr Grünberger and Mr Kemmather introduced us to the technical tour. In Pasing a bypass road was created around the centre of the town (older than Munich, but in the 1930’s made part of Munich). The bypass road runs partly parallel to the already existing railway. The centre is revitalised. The bypass road attracts more vehicles than the old road through the centre, which often is the case in similar situations because of the shortened driving time.
During the afternoon and the next morning the final symposium of SONORUS was held. SONORUS is a project on Urban Sound Planning. More information can be obtained here.
All working documents and powerpoints can be found here.