France has violated a 2002 European directive to keep noise levels in large towns, along main roads and railway tracks under 68 decibels during the day and 62 decibels at night. The European Commission has issued a warning.

Brussels has demanded that France instantly adopt the directive’s action points on the reduction of “ambient noise” to avoid further warnings and even sanctions.

As reported by The Connexion, France has been found in breach of EU levels in 58 urban centres, along a large number of its main roads and main railway routes, and at major airports.

The European Commission condemned France for not having “correctly measured all of the large infrastructure centres across it territory”, and gave the country two months to “rectify this situation”.

Since 2016, the European Commission has brought complaints against 13 member states on the subject of noise in the environment.

The Commission warns that noise, especially that from traffic, trains or planes is the “second largest cause of premature death [among nearby residents] after atmospheric pollution”.

This is because excess or constant noise causes humans to experience a lower quality of sleep and increased stress.

In an interview with Le Monde, Antoine Perez Munoz of Bruitparif, said: “Noise affects stress and sleep, and there is a demonstrable link between road noise and the risk of increased heart attacks”.

Bruitparif is the noise regulator and operator in Ile-de-France, which is one of the departments in the country most affected by noise pollution.

“France has been slow at detailing its maps and its action plans,” added Perez Munoz. “On average, noise pollution causes seven months’ loss of good health or life per person, and up to two years’ loss for someone living in a very noisy area.”