Czech senators appeal law on highway noise regulation

A new law passed late last year means that traffic on busy roads and highways will likely become louder.


Written by ČTK Published on 18.07.2023 07:30:00 (updated on 18.07.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

A group of senators officially challenged Monday the government's regulation on adjusting noise limits – particularly in transport – at Czechia’s Constitutional Court. This is in response to protests from municipalities that are already suffering from excessive noise from truck and rail traffic.

The association Koridor D8 informed about the appeal in a press release, and the spokeswoman of the court confirmed the acceptance of the proposal. The D8 highway runs adjacent to many buildings and homes. According to the association, 23 senators signed the initiative to cancel selected parts of the government regulation.

Not enough reason for noise-limit increase

The law, passed last year, increased the noise limit surrounding Czechia’s major roads by between 8 and 13 decibels (dB), to a maximum of 68 dB, for transport routes built before 2000. Critics of the regulation say the law is insufficiently justified and “incomprehensible.” They also say that the government failed to adequately discuss the proposal with expert groups.

According to an earlier statement by the vice chairman of the Association of Towns and Municipalities Zdeňko Pištory, the adopted noise limits were 3 dB higher than initially outlined by the government.

A serious effect on health

According to the senators, the government did not consider the adverse effects of noise on the health of residents, as well as the costs of health and social measures associated with higher noise levels. According to expert studies, the social costs associated with the negative effects of excessive environmental noise are up to 10 times higher than the costs of anti-noise measures, Koridor D8 chairman Martin Klečka says.

In mid-June, Deputy Speaker of the Senate Jitka Seitlová drew attention to studies showing that increased noise has an impact on mental health and fertility. According to her, municipalities fear that older buildings, whose soundproofing leaves a lot to be desired, will be worst affected by the planned measures.

Dozens of municipalities in Central Bohemia protested against the regulation at the end of May, and another 30 municipalities along the large D8 highway also came up with a similar initiative. They threatened that if the government did not do anything about the regulation, they would block the opening of the planned high-speed route from Prague to Dresden.

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