Positions 12 Sep 2013

Policy principles for rail freight noise mitigation

The rail sector has a long history of noise mitigation and is committed to continue making progress based on cost-effective noise mitigation solutions.

While different mitigation possibilities are available, one major cost-effective measure is to equip freight wagons with low-noise brake blocks. However this measure leads to additional costs compared to the status quo which should be covered from public sources: as long as noise is not subject to the polluter-pays principle across both road and rail in a balanced and effective manner, any measures to reduce railway noise emissions should be accompanied by financial support measures that cover the full cost of the measures imposed.

On the other hand, measures such as unilateral vehicle bans would go against the principle of Free Movement of Goods. EU policy-makers should ensure that such measures shall not be permitted under EU law. The Single Market is the most important achievement of the European Union. CER, as the leading representative organisation of railway companies in Europe, considers that EU policy-makers have a duty to uphold it and protect it as concerns the railways by opposing measures that would distort competition within the sector and/or harm interoperability within the Union.