ITALY INVESTS IN REDUCING TRAIN NOISE.
Italy is planning to spend Euro 4.5 billion to combat noise pollution caused by trains using 2,800 km of railway track over the next 15 years. Giancarlo Cimoli, Chairman and Managing Director of Italy's train system (FS), signing an agreement with the Environment Ministry, said: "The most urgent actions will be taken between now and 2006", adding that FS had already submitted a plan of the sections of track on which noise limits have been exceeded. The Environment Minister, Altero Matteoli, said a technical committee would be set up to determine the priorities.
New-generation high-speed trains and diesel trains are not authorised to generate more than 88 decibels, whilst the noise limits for other types of rail convoys are even lower. By 2006, FS will intervene essentially in those areas in which the population is directly affected by the noise and where traffic is heaviest. Of the 16,500 km of Italy's rail network, some 8,500 km require action, says Mr Cimoli, adding: "This agreement puts Italy well ahead of other European countries: the European Commission is in fact currently carrying out an inquiry into noise pollution generated by trains." The government has already approved finance of Euro 1.2 billion for the project. Deputy Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Ugo Martinat said: "It shows that while Europe examines, Italy acts".