EU vote could mean quieter tyres in five years

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The Independent Online

The search for the "whispering tyre" - a car tyre that is both quieter and more environmentally friendly - will be stepped up after a European Parliament vote last week. The decision may be welcomed by those who live near busy main roads and motorways in less than five years.

The search for the "whispering tyre" - a car tyre that is both quieter and more environmentally friendly - will be stepped up after a European Parliament vote last week. The decision may be welcomed by those who live near busy main roads and motorways in less than five years.

Dutch Green Party MEP Alexander Van Roo pushed through proposals to cut noise made by car tyres by some two decibels.

However, his attempt to get a similar reduction in lorry and van tyre noise limits was defeated by Tory and Christian Democrat opposition.

Under the proposals, a directive would require cars in Europe to be fitted with the new "whispering tyres" by 2005.

"Noise caused by tyres of cars or trucks driving faster than 40km/h on road surfaces is one of the most important sources of noise pollution.

"After reducing car emissions and solving the problem of car recycling this is the next important challenge to mitigate the detrimental effects of the car on human health," said Mr Van Roo, who is vice-president of the Environment Committee. "According to popular polls, noise is the biggest environmental problem affecting people's lives,"

Mr Van Roo's proposals will challenge tyre manufacturers who areconcerned that further quietness cannot be achieved without a loss of grip and so could affect safety.

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