06 October 2005

Spanish noise maps

In order to get a clear picture of the levels of noise pollution in Spain, noise maps are to be drawn up for the largest Spanish urban areas by June 2007, according to the Noise Law passed in October 2003.

At the same time, substantial fines of up to Euro 300,000 will be given to anyone breaking the noise regulations.

The Noise Law requires the Spanish authorities to draw up maps of noise levels along main traffic arteries, train stations, airports and throughout urban sprawl areas.

By June 2007, maps must be completed for the 15 largest Spanish cities, traffic arteries with more than 6 million vehicles a year, train corridors with 60,000 trains a year, and airports with 50,000 flights a year.

Heavy fines
The Law establishes sanctions from Euro 12,001 to Euro 300,000 for extreme noise regulation violations. For serious infringements, fines will range from Euro 601 to Euro 12,000. Moderate violations are punishable by fines of up to Euro 600.

The city of Álava in northern Spain is the top candidate for noise mapping. A noise map drawn up for this city in 2004 indicated that its residents are exposed to particularly damaging noise levels. With this background, the city council of Álava invited city representatives from all over Spain to a national symposium to debate the problems of noise pollution and to take action.

The noise maps, the new substantial fines for noise pollution, and the symposium are all part of an organized effort to reduce noise pollution and limit the damage from excessive noise on human health and the environment.

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