A European Perspective
New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Edited by Ekin Birol and Phoebe Koundouri
Chapter 13: Enjoy the Silence: Valuing Rail Noise Abatement in Trento, Italy
Paulo A.L.D. Nunes and Chiara Maria Travisi INTRODUCTION The Italian overall noise regulation was set in 1995.1 Since 1998, rail noise pollution has also been regulated by a law2 that sets day-time and nighttime limits on reception locations, depending on their vulnerability and distance from the railway. Residential areas or vulnerable receptors, such as schools and hospitals, therefore have lower limits than less vulnerable ones. Reception limits refer to a precise spatial area along the railway which includes receptors within 250 metres from it. This area is divided into two portions, named ‘Zone A’ and ‘Zone B’ respectively, 100 and 150 metres away from the railroad track, and characterised by diﬀerent noise reception limits. Almost one decade after the deﬁnition of the Italian national noise regulation, the implementation of the required noise abatement measures is still largely incomplete, and only very recently we have witnessed the rise of a national debate on how to proceed in order to abate rail noise below the current unacceptable limits. This chapter considers the case of the Brennero railway, located in the North-East of Italy, where for the ﬁrst time in Italy local authorities are formally debating on the most preferable type of noise abatement strategy to be implemented (see Figure 13.1). Recently the Italian Ministry of the Environment has indicated preference for noise abatement strategies based on substantial investments in renewing train vehicles and tracks rather than creating new noise barriers (for a discussion see Watkiss et al., 2001). According to...
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