Noise pollution is one of the most widespread public health threats in industrialised countries and the second largest environmental cause of health problems in the EU, impacting the railway sector and rail operations. The EU is taking several actions on noise exposure, one of which is reducing noise emissions from rail freight. Regulation (EU) 1304/2014 on the Technical Specification for Interoperability related to Rolling stock – Noise (NOI TSI) establishes the framework for noise emitted by rolling stock (locomotives and passenger and freight wagons).
EIM in action
- EIM’s Noise Working Group (NOI WG) has been active in the EU Agency for Railways (ERA) task force dealing with the application of the TSI Noise to existing freight wagons;
- EIM advocated the importance of speeding-up the process for freight wagons to become quieter, as well as the importance of available, cost-efficient noise reduction solutions, in order to prevent a modal shift from rail to other transport modes;
- EIM advocated the introduction of the concept “once a quieter route always a quieter route”, in order to maintain a long-term low noise perspective for railway lines;
- EIM contributed to the dissemination of the information and activities related to the quieter routes which were published on the website of ERA for each Member State;
- EIM’s NOI WG is active in the ERA task force dealing with the use of alternative brake blocks during specific winter conditions in Nordic countries.
- EIM’s NOI WG contributed to the finalisation of the TSI NOI and the Application Guide of the TSI. Both were adopted in May 2019;
- EIM’s NOI WG has been sharing experiences for providing the list of quieter routes;
- EIM’s NOI WG has been working together with EIM’s RINF WG to write a letter to ERA concerning the publication of the quieter routes in RINF;
- EIM’s NOI WG wrote an EIM position paper on the ‘Noise Differentiated Track Access Charges’ (NDTAC) as a contribution to the EC evaluation of NDTAC.
- The European Commission is currently evaluating the Implementing Regulation 2015/429 on ‘Noise Differentiated Track Access Charges’;
- Germany will apply a ban on noisy freight wagons from 1st January 2021 onwards. Sweden is concerned that this will trigger a negative modal shift from rail to road. The sector and the EC will seek to find a solution in 2020;
- The results of the tests of composite brake blocks during winter conditions in Nordic countries are expected to be published in 2020;
- EIM’s NOI WG experts will follow the activity and outcome of the new ERA Topical Working Group on the composite brake blocks which will handle the noise emission of composite brake blocks (CBBs).
EC Regulation (EU) No 1304/2014
Rail Infrastructure Managers (IMs) deploy the following substances to maintain their rail network:
- Glyphosate is a herbicide used in agriculture. In railways, it is used to control the growth of weed along the tracks.
- Creosote is a wood preservative that protects wooden sleepers from the natural elements and increases their lifespan by 10 to 30 years.
One of the core regulatory acts regarding the substances is Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market. This Regulation regulates the renewal of approval of active substances (creosote and glyphosate).
Implementing Decision (EU) 2017/2334 extends the period of use of creosote until 31st October 2020. EIM and other rail stakeholders will support a renewal of the authorisation to use creosote for as long as no viable alternatives are found.
EIM in action
- EIM advocates an exemption for railways regarding the ban of glyphosate and creosote, as both are necessary for safe railway operations on tracks;
- At the same time, EIM also advocates the extensive research of equivalent alternative products. This is done by participating in various research platforms
- EIM, CER and UIC set up a platform for exchanging best practices and alternative products and methods for creosote (AT-WOOD);
- EIM has been closely following all legislations related to glyphosate and creosote.
- National competent authorities shall submit their assessment about glyphosate to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in 2020. This is a first necessary step in the glyphosate extension process;
- EIM will continue to participate in the UIC AT-WOOD project on alternatives to creosote, which started in March 2019.
Regulation (EC) 1107/2009
Implementing Decision (EU) 2017/2334
It is of utmost importance for European mobility managers to work towards a greener and less polluting transport sector in compliance with the ambitious goals set in the European Commission’s 2011 White Paper for Transport and in the European Commission’s Communication “A European Strategy for low-emission mobility”. The development of electromobility plays a key role in transport decarbonisation and increasingly contributes to cleaner and more sustainable transport flows, while effectively meeting mobility needs and demands. Currently, there is no binding legislation on EU level.
EIM in action
- EIM is a full member of the Electromobility Platform- a multimodal, cross-sectorial forum of industry stakeholders with the goal of fostering e-mobility in European transport;
- EIM advocates the recognition of the strategic importance of electric rail services for passengers and freight.
- EIM proposed a number of amendments to the position paper of the E-mobility platform on the MFF.
- Throughout 2020, the European Commission evaluates the “White Paper on Transport 2011” to prepare for a new ‘White Paper on Transport 2020’, which is expected at the end of 2020;
- The developments regarding the ‘Alternative Fuels Directive’ are followed by EIM related to the possible manufacturing of trains propelled by hydrogen;
- EIM will continue to actively participate in the Electromobility Platform