How satisfied are inhabitants of EU capital cities with the air quality and noise levels?

How satisfied are inhabitants of EU capital cities with the air quality and noise levels?

Just in time before World Environment Day on 5 June new figures show that in most capitals inhabitants are generally satisfied with both the quality of the air and the noise level. The figures were published today (3 June) by Eurostat, the statistics office of the European Union.

They are based on the European Commission’s survey of perceptions of quality of life in 2015 in 79 cities, including the capitals of EU member states. In each city around 500 citizens were interviewed, in total more than 40 000 people (Flash Eurobarometer 419).

Besides air quality and noise level, the survey measured perceptions of several other issues such as public transport, cultural facilities, the housing situation, employment opportunities,  the presence and integration of foreigners, safety and trust, just to mention some of them.

Normally air quality and noise level vary in a city, depending on street and area, but according to Eurostat the results should give an overall indication of the situation in each city. No comparison is made with actual measurements.

Results show significant disparities between capital cities in the EU, with levels of satisfaction regarding air quality ranging from 22% to 88% and for noise levels from 31% to 82%. 

Among EU capital cities in 2015, at least three-quarters of inhabitants were very or rather satisfied with the quality of the air in their city in Dublin, Vienna and Helsinki (all 88%), followed by Luxembourg (83%), Stockholm (77%), Ljubljana (76%) and Tallinn (75%).

In contrast, the lowest shares of the resident population satisfied with the quality of the air were observed in Bucharest (22%), Paris (25%), Sofia (28%), Madrid (31%) and Rome (32%).

Compared with the 2012 survey, large increases in satisfaction with air quality can be seen in Praha (59%, +20) and Ljubljana (76%, +15). A decrease in satisfaction is seen in Paris (25%, -8) and London (57%, -7).

Regarding the level of noise perceived, Dublin registered the highest proportion of the population very or rather satisfied (82%), ahead of Helsinki (81%), Luxembourg (79%), Vienna (78%), Riga (77%), Vilnius (76%) and London (75%).

Conversely, Bucharest recorded the lowest share of people globally satisfied with the noise level in the city (31%), followed by Sofia (36%), Athens (43%), Madrid, Rome and Valletta (all 45%) as well as Warsaw (46%).

There have been some large increases in satisfaction with noise levels since 2012 in some cities, notably in Madrid (45%, +14), Tallin (69%, +9) and Wien (78%, +9). A decrease in satisfaction was reported in Valetta (45%, -7) and Lisboa (45%, -6).

The Brussels Times (Source: The European Commission)

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