Poslanca v evropskem parlamentu Anna Rosbach (EFD iz Danske) in Morten Messerschmidt (EFD iz Danske) sta 6.oktobra 2009 naslovila na Evropsko komisijo vprašanje ( P4846/09 in P4845/09):
Subject: Low-frequency noise from cogeneration plants and wind turbines
According to pressure groups and researchers from the Aalborg University Acoustics Research Department, cogeneration plants with inadequate sound insulation and vibration absorption cause ‘noise pollution’, since the low-frequency wavelength means that the sound can travel very long distances — in the case of cogeneration plants as much as 30 km.
Low-frequency noise is sound at a frequency that only a certain percentage of people can hear. The organisation which drew our attention to this matter refers to a study carried out at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) showing that 3-5 % of the population perceive low-frequency noise up to 5 times more powerfully than others. Since the total population of the EU is some 500 million, this means that between 15 and 20 million EU citizens have this hearing condition. In Denmark the medical profession has not been informed about this study, and so many people who have this hearing condition have been misdiagnosed as having tinnitus. The situation is likely to be the same in other EU countries.
The organisation in question has unsuccessfully lobbied the Danish Environment Ministry to have the noise limit reduced by 10 db. At present the limit for low-frequency noise is 20 db indoors at night in residential buildings, a little more in daytime and again a little more in non-residential buildings. One other problem has been that it is difficult to measure low-frequency noise accurately and thus detect its presence.
People living near a cogeneration plant which is not properly sound-insulated, or a wind turbine, are disturbed by the noise 24 hours a day, described as a ‘deep rumbling noise from outside’ or ‘a lorry engine idling’ which prevents them from sleeping in their own houses. No earplugs can keep the noise out.
The term ‘low-frequency noise’ should not be confused with the related term ‘infra-sound’.
What does the Commission propose to do about this widespread problem? Could the solution be to introduce a minimum harmonised level for low-frequency noise?
V imenu Komisije jima je 3 novembra 2009 odgovoril Mr Dimas:
The Commission would like to thank the Honourable Members for the information on the recent research into low frequency noise from cogeneration plants and wind turbines. The Commission is aware of the issue and the effects on the physical and psychological health of citizens in the EU. The World Health organisation has also recognised this issue.
The Commission will assess the results of these research activities and will consider to what extent these results can be integrated into the forthcoming review of Directive 2002/49/EC(1) relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise which is due to be completed in 2011.
Poslanec v evropskem parlamentu Graham Watson (ALDE, V.Britanija) je 21.oktobra 2009 naslovil na Evropsko komisijo vprašanje (E-5149/09):
Subject: Low-frequency noise
Low-frequency noise (LFN) has been recognised as a problem in many countries around the world. Those who hear LFN and are affected by it are often few in number; however, they suffer severe distress.
Criteria for determining acceptable levels of LFN have been introduced in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Poland and the Netherlands since 1997. Within the UK, local authority environmental health officers are tasked with investigating complaints over noise; however, they are equipped with instrumentation which senses noise descriptors based on the A weighted sound level (dB(A)) which effectively filters out low-frequency sounds. I understand that the ‘C’ weighted level (LC) instrumentation is better placed for establishing the presence of LFN.
Is the Commission aware of the difficulties some citizens face with LFN? What steps is the Commission taking to determine acceptable Community-wide levels of LFN, and to ensure Member States investigate this nuisance?
V imenu Komisije mu je 14 december 2009 odgovoril Mr Dimas:
The Commission is aware of the issue and the effects of the low frequency noise on the physical and psychological health of citizens.
The Commission will consider the results of research in the field of low frequency noise and will examine to what extent this information could be integrated in the forthcoming review of Directive 2002/49/EC(1), relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise, which is foreseen to be completed in 2011