Czech Republic may be fined for its high noise levels

The European Commission has taken an interest in the high noise levels Czechs are subjected to across the country. From noisy roads to squeaky trains, apparently hundreds of thousands of people in the country are suffering. Now, the European Commission has set a deadline for the country to act.

For some time, environmental experts have been concerned that as many as half a million Czechs are exposed to night-time noises exceeding 60 decibels mainly caused by car traffic – World Health Organization guidelines set 30db as the night time limit. Meanwhile, a recently issued Health Ministry map illustrates that all across the country Czechs are exposed to dangerously high levels of noise both day and night, with the municipalities of Ostrovačice, Polom and Slavníč officially designated the noisiest in the Czech Republic. The EU believes that high noise levels are causing thousands of heart-related deaths around the European continent each year, with sleep deprivation leading to stress and high blood pressure. The Czech Republic has been issued with a deadline – by June 18, it must present a concrete plan of action to the EU detailing how it will deal with the problem.

The plans must be formulated on a regional basis, with, for example, the city of Brno coming under the purview of the south Moravia region, the only exception is Prague, whose city government must formulate its own strategy. Encouraging more people to abandon their cars and use public transport is viewed as one crucial solution, while technology also has a role to play, with noise-reducing surfaces on roads, as well as insulating walls also playing a key role.

However, concerns have already been voiced that the Czech authorities will simply not be able to formulate these plans in time. In that case, the European Commission has the power to take legal action against the country and ultimately impose fines totalling millions of Euros. Prague authorities have already announced that they will be unable to meet the deadline in time. Other regions are also facing a series of technical and logistical difficulties, in fact, only one region – Moravia-Silesia says that it should meet the deadline. Czechs wanting some relief from the noise may be in for a lengthy wait.