The European Parliament is due to vote this week on legislative proposals to force manufacturers to introduce quieter engines and exhausts, amidst mounting evidence of the damaging impacts on public health.
MEPs are being urged by environmental campaigners in Scotland and Brussels to back the moves. But they are being fiercely opposed by car manufacturers, including the German sports car company, Porsche.
According to official figures, as many as 945,100 people in Scotland are exposed to daytime noise levels from traffic above 55 decibels. The World Health Organisation says that this will damage performance at work and school, disturb sleep and impair hearing and heart functions.
“This legislation is critical to tackle the problem at source,” said Colin Howden, the director of the campaign group, Transform Scotland. Over 40% of people in Europe were exposed to noise levels which posed a “serious risk to health”, he said.
Cecile Toubeau, from the Brussels-based lobby group, Transport & Environment, said: “This is a once in a decade opportunity to improve health and quality of life and save money by making vehicles quieter.”
The SNP MEP, Alyn Smith, and the Labour MEP, Catherine Stihler, told the Sunday Herald that they would support the proposed reductions in noise levels, though they may be opposed by the Conservative MEP, Struan Stevenson.
The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association argued they would be “damagingly costly to implement” and “could weaken the industry’s competitiveness in the face of its global rivals.”