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Parliamentary questions
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17 September 2019
Question for written answer E-002812-19
to the Commission
Rule 138
Rory Palmer (S&D)

 Subject:  Addressing underwater noise
 Answer in writing 

In order to implement the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, which aims to achieve ‘good environmental status’ by 2020, Member States need to consider addressing underwater noise in their programmes of measures (PoM). There is growing evidence that problems are caused by noise from seismic surveys, oil drilling, shipping, pile driving, dredging and other sources (including military sonar).

Underwater noise has been proven to have a wide range of consequences on a variety of species, from zooplankton, invertebrates and fish to marine mammals, from physical damage, behavioural changes and displacement, to stress, etc.

However, according to a recent report from NGOs assessing PoMs, many Member States continue to claim that not enough is yet known to fully understand the problem of underwater noise, thereby justifying their lack of preventive action.

Nevertheless more could be done, such as setting up incentive programmes that apply quieting measures and technologies, setting up noise exclusion zones, considering speed reductions for large vessels, and requiring comprehensive environmental impact assessments prior to considering the authorisation of noise-generating activities.

Does the Commission intend to promote measures to reduce underwater noise and urge Member States to improve their PoMs accordingly?

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