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 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 has been sharing experiences for providing the list of quieter routes;
- EIM was active in the technical opinion on the reporting of the information for quieter routes and the EC followed the EIM recommendations. The information will have to be provided exclusively through RINF and no longer with the Noise template.
- EIM’s Nordic countries continued with the task force on the assessment of the composite brake blocks towards an exemption to be taken based on the CBB performance in the Nordic countries.
- The results of the tests of composite brake blocks during winter conditions in Nordic countries are expected to be published in 2021;
- 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
The majority of Rail Infrastructure Managers (IMs) deploy the following substances to maintain their rail network:
- Glyphosate: a herbicide used in agriculture used to control the growth of weed along railway tracks.
- Creosote: a wood preservative that protects wooden railway sleepers from the natural elements and increases their lifespan by 10 to 30 years.
One of the core regulatory acts regarding glyphosate and creosote is Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market. This Regulation regulates the renewal of approvals for both those substances.
Implementing Decision (EU) 2020/238 extends the permitted period of use of creosote until 31st October 2021. . The members of EIM who use creosote are actively engaged in finding alternatives to creosote, the goal being to minimise the use of creosote as quickly as possible, without jeopardizing the safety of the railway system.
EIM in action
- EIM advocates another temporary exemption for railways regarding the ban of glyphosate and creosote, since the substances are still necessary for safe railway operations for a majority of EIM members;
- At the same time, EIM also advocates the extensive research of alternative products through participating in various research platforms.
- EIM, CER and UIC continued to contribute to the ‘AT-WOOD’ project: a platform for exchanging best practices regarding alternative products and methods for creosote;
- EIM has closely followed the development of legislation related to glyphosate and creosote.
- The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will continue to operate the process for permitting the use of creosote until October 2021.
- EIM will continue to participate in the UIC AT-WOOD project.
Regulation (EC) 1107/2009
Implementing Decision (EU) 2020/238
It is critical that European mobility managers work towards a greener and less polluting transport sector consistent with the ambitious goals set in the European Commission’s 2020 Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy 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 EU legislation in this area, but this might change with the revision of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFID), expected in 2021.
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 recognition of the strategic importance of electric rail services for passengers and freight.
- EIM proposed a number of amendments to multiple position papers of the E-mobility platform.
- EIM will follow the development of the ‘Alternative Fuels Directive’ in relation to hydrogen, charging points for electric vehicles at train stations and the latest battery developments.
- EIM will continue to actively participate in the Electromobility Platform.
- EIM will continue to contribute to topics such as energy efficiency and energy transition.