Noise pollution issues in Italy are governed by Law No. 447 of 26 October 1995, "Framework law on noise pollution".
The following general prescriptions are set out for highway infrastructure operators:
- noise exposure levels and the applicable areas (noise bands) are fixed by specific decrees and implementing regulations;
- noise pollution caused by highway traffic must be recorded within the limits of the law, as set out in decrees and regulations, by drawing up and implementing multi-year noise abatement plans;
- since 1995, when implementing noise containment and abatement interventions, the owners or concession holders of road infrastructures are ordinarily required to commit in a fixed fee of no less than 5% of the provisions envisaged for infrastructure maintenance and expansion activities as recorded in the financial statements; the 1999 financial law subsequently increased this to 7%.
The Decree of the Ministry of the Environment of 29 November 2000 and the Presidential Decree 142 of 30 March 2004 set out the noise limit values and the implementation methods of mitigation interventions.
Noise Containment and Abatement Plan (NCAP)
The NCAP was drawn up in 2007 with a view to defining and planning the necessary interventions for achieving the mitigation objectives as set out in the other sections; the Plan targets all residential and sensitive receptors identified as "critical" in the relevant noise band.
In order to meet these objectives, the implementation of noise barriers, total coverings, baffles and direct intervention on buildings (soundproof doors and windows) is envisaged.
The NCAP envisages 300 Macro-interventions, which will create more than 1,000 km of noise protection. The total protection surface area is approximately 4,000,000 m2 with an average height of 4.2 m. The total surface area of noise coverings is 160,000 m2.
The macro-interventions are carried out in the order defined by a national ranking created on the basis of a noise priority index that is exclusively linked to noise levels and the exposed population.
The dimensions of the noise abatement works listed in the Plan were arrived at following a preliminary study, which was exclusively intended to identify intervention priorities, plan the works and define the Autostrade per l'Italia financial plan: detailed designs are being developed in the course of the implementation phase, to be completed in 15 years, which may determine solutions other than those set out in the current NCAP. At the end of 2017, detailed noise projects were developed for around 65% of the macro-interventions that make up the NCAP.
At the end of 2017, 83 interventions over a total of 180 km of noise barriers and coverings of the first phase of the NCAP were completed.