“One in two Germans feels troubled by noise,” Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) states in its election manifesto. “We want to change this.”
Germany already has some of the world’s most stringent noise regulations and citizens are only too eager to reprimand neighbours for loud children or taking out rubbish too early on a Sunday.
Merkel’s husband, Joachim Sauer, famously filed a complaint about an open-air theatre group performing opposite the couple’s apartment in central Berlin back in 2001 for violating a 60-decibel noise limit by eight decibels.
In their programmes for the September 22 election and to an extent never seen before, political parties are outlining how they intend to make German skies and roads even quieter.
Some noise seems to be acceptable. The CDU and the Free Democratic Party both stress that in 2011 their government abolished regulations allowing Germans to file legal complaints against kindergartens or playgrounds because of the “noise” of kids at play.
“The sound of children is not damaging to the environment,” the new law made clear.
Many of the parties are promising the same remedies: traffic speed limits, increased use of a road surface known as “whispering asphalt” and more investment in sound insulation of roads and railways. – Reuters