Harmonizing noise abatement and urban development

Regular paper

Nina Mahler

Federal Office for the Environment

Monday 1 june, 2015, 16:00 - 16:20

0.6 Madrid (49)

Noise abatement in Switzerland is ruled by the principle that noise exposure should be reduced by measures at source or at the propagation path as well as by precautionary measures of spatial planning to keep settlements out of noisy areas. As it is not always feasible to impose sufficient noise emission reduction, especially in areas of aircraft noise exposure, there remain considerably huge areas in urban regions that are banned from construction due to the precautionary principle of noise abatement. The problem is particularly intense in the greater area of Zurich where in the night hours the noise exposure of the airport covers huge areas of the entire canton. Therefore, Switzerland has recently adapted its noise abatement ordinance in order to optimize the weighting process of interest with regards to noise protection and urban development. The new regulation widens the possibilities of constructing new houses in noisy areas under the conditions that undue noise exposure only prevails in the night hours from 22:00 to 24:00. Furthermore, no aircraft traffic must take place from 24:00 to 06:00, and new buildings must be acoustically well insulated, air and temperature conditioned and their sleeping rooms must be equipped with sound proof windows that can be automatically closed and opened. The new regulation is a paradigm change as noise protection of the population is partly shifted from noise reduction at source to insulating housings. However, as the rule is limited to two hours in a time period where most people are thought to stay inside their houses, it is supposed that the population is still sufficient protected against aircraft noise.

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