The European Commission has warned France to reduce its national noise levels in line with a 2002 European directive. The law requires all EU members to measure and reduce noise levels in large towns, along main roads and railway tracks, and around large airports, and keep them within the European limits.

These are set at 68 decibels during the day and 62 decibels at night.

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

The 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”.

“Noise affects stress and sleep, and there is a demonstrable link between road noise and the risk of increased heart attacks,” explained Antoine Perez Munoz of Bruitparif, speaking to Le Monde.

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.

According to The Connexion, if France does not satisfy the European Commission within the next two months on the issue, it could be sent a further warning, after which any future breaches could see it summoned before the European Union Court of Justice to receive further possible sanctions.