A compromise deal has been struck between the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers over a new tyre noise directive, which will lead to reduction by one decibel of the maximum noise that can be created by tyres on road vehicles and their trailers.

MEPs had wanted tighter regulations from 2003, reducing noise thresholds by two decibels for tyres on private cars. EU ministers resisted their amendments, however, and now a deal on the final shape of the directive has been forged by a Conciliation Committee set up to bring the two sides together.

The agreed text also allows manufacturers additional leeway on noise, by saying that tests should take account of the fact that tyres are designed for safety as well as environmental considerations, and that "any constraint on one parameter can affect the others."

Meanwhile, the European Commission will monitor safety inventions and experience gained from the introduction of limit values for tyre noise.

Within 36 months, it would submit a report on how far technical progress would allow the introduction of new limit values without compromising safety. The Commission would then have another year in which to propose new regulations on noise, safety and rolling resistance.

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