West Midlands MEP Dr Phil Bennion has highlighted a vote by the European Parliament on noise limits for cars to recognise the needs of premium car-makers in the region such as Aston Martin, JLR and Morgan.
MEPs backed a Liberal group proposal for mandatory introduction of 'acoustic vehicle alerting systems' (AVAS) in ultra-quiet vehicles such as electric and hybrid cars, to protect vulnerable road users.
|Phil Bennion MEP and Solihull Lib Dem MP Lorely Burt are working together to ensure government at both UK and EU level takes needs of key manufacturers such as JLR into account.
Road safety groups and organisations for partially sighted and blind people such as the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association had called for acoustic warning devices to avoid increased accident risks as electric vehicles become more common.
But the Parliament also voted to legislate for much stricter maximum sound emissions from both tyres and engines in conventionally powered cars.
Dr Bennion, Lib Dem Transport Spokesman in the Parliament said: "Some proposals discussed before the vote using categories based on power to weight ratio would have been difficult for some manufacturers to meet, without increasing power outputs simply to get into a higher permitted noise category.
"High performance sports cars were ok but I was concerned that Land Rover might have been obliged to uprate turbo-diesel 4x4s such as some Discovery models simply to avoid being in an impractical category, which would be nonsensical from a green point of view.
"Some of the executive Jaguar saloons manufactured at Castle Bromwich might also have been affected.
"Fortunately, when it came to the votes common sense prevailed. The European Parliament has recognised the nature of the premium 4x4 and sports car industry, where higher than average noise engine and tyre noise is likely and adopted proposed limits for different types of car which are practical while encouraging best practice.
"Safety and environmental legislation needs to strike the right balance and avoid unintended consequences. JLR and other premium UK manufacturers have made huge strides in making their cars greener in terms of fuel consumption and whole life environmental cost, while still appealing as drivers' cars."
Research from the United States indicates that very quiet vehicles are twice as likely to be involved in a pedestrian accident as vehicles fitted with an internal combustion engine - most typically when the vehicle is slowing or stopping, moving in reverse or entering or exiting a parking space.
Phil added: "Background traffic noise can be a form of pollution, but the sound of a car approaching and coming to a stop can provide essential signals to a blind or partially sighted person that it is safe to cross a road. If cars are too quiet at low speed, this won't happen. AVAS warning systems for an audible but not unduly intrusive noise are the right way forward.
"I am glad the Liberal Democrats have been successful in proposing mandatory acoustic warning devices in silent cars, after working with charities and advocacy groups to ensure a workable proposal to help vulnerable road users was put forward."