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Malta may face EU infringement over noise complaints

The European Commission is considering whether to open infringement proceedings against Malta over its failure to tackle excessive noise pollution from traffic, the Times of Malta has learnt. A spokesman for the Office of the Ombudsman said Brussels had registered an infringement complaint against the Maltese government on the matter after a local lobby group flagged concerns. The Commission has one year to decide to send a letter of formal notice to the government to begin infringement proceedings.

Times of Malta reported on Wednesday[1] that the Noise Abatement Society had asked the European Ombudsman to look into complaints of excessive noise pollution from Malta’s congested roads. John Fenech, who heads the NGO, has been campaigning on behalf of dozens of residents, who say they have had enough of roaring traffic and roadworks outside their homes.

READ: EU Ombudsman hears noise complaints[2] “The noise that people are being subjected to is excessive and detrimental to their health.

They should not have to live like this,” he said. A Noise Control Commission was established shortly before the June election to analyse existing legislation and propose new laws to protect civilians Mr Fenech first took the matter to David Pace, the Environment Commissioner within the office of the Ombudsman, after spending nearly two years chasing different government authorities, urging them to transpose EU noise control regulations into the Maltese statute book.

If this had already been done, he wanted the authorities to actually enforce the regulations. A spokesman for Mr Pace yesterday said regular meetings were being held on issues relating to noise pollution and legislation. Meanwhile, technical experts were called to the Environment Ministry earlier this week to discuss the matter after the reports that appeared in the Times of Malta.

A spokesman for Minister Jos? Herrera said the ministry was fully aware of the problem of noise pollution generated by traffic and the controls in place. The transport watchdog admitted that a bigger effort was required to ensure local communities were protected from the negative impact of road transport.

A Noise Control Commission was established shortly before the June election to analyse existing legislation and propose new laws to protect civilians. The commission was also tasked with making suggestions to cater for the setting up of a regulatory authority on the matter. Meanwhile, the transport watchdog admitted that a bigger effort was required to ensure local communities were protected from the negative impact of road transport.

A Transport Malta spokesman said the regulator was ready to cooperate with the European and the Maltese Ombudsmen to identify solutions to the problem.

He commended Mr Fenech for championing residents’ plight and said the transport watchdog would be meeting him to discuss the matter further.

References

  1. ^ reported on Wednesday (www.timesofmalta.com)
  2. ^ READ: EU Ombudsman hears noise complaints (www.timesofmalta.com)



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