Car ownership in Palma declined over the years of economic crisis. In 2011 there were 820 vehicles per 1,000 residents. By 2014 the figure had dropped to 650. Recession was a factor, as also was the decision of the car-rental association Aevab to register cars on the mainland, where road tax was cheaper. The announcement by the previous government that it would introduce a tax on hire cars led to the flight of car-rental businesses, even if their cars continued to be on Balearic roads. Aevab's president, Ramón Reus, says that some 10,000 vehicles, for which road tax was paid in Palma, were relocated.
The figure of 650 is still higher than the national average of 482. The only European Union country said to have a higher number of cars per 1,000 inhabitants is Luxembourg with 672, a figure mentioned during a presentation yesterday for the International Day of Noise Awareness. The town hall's ecology (and agriculture and animal welfare) department drew attention to the problem of noise in Palma, noting that 90% of the city's noise results from traffic. To the issue of noise pollution, it was further noted, are the problems of greenhouse gas emissions and their contribution to climate change.
A comparison of Spanish and European cities shows that 93% of Palma's population are affected by a noise level higher than 55 decibels. In A Coruña and Vigo it is around 90%. There are some places, such as Castellón, where it is 100%. One in four of Europe's 125 million people is affected by noise levels over 55dB. Luxembourg is reckoned to be the noisiest city.
The town hall in Palma is working on a plan to reduce noise. Neus Truyol, the councillor for ecology, says the aim is to work and live in a green and healthy city.
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