ETC/ATNI Report 10/2019: Status of quiet areas in European urban agglomerations

This report assess the available (potential) quiet areas in European cities and their accessibility. Information was obtained in two ways. The EEA Eionet network was activated and noise experts representing countries, regions and cities, were asked to complete an online questionnaire. In parallel, an analysis of availability and accessibility of quiet areas was undertaken using a combined spatial assessment of noise exposure and land use and land cover data for selected European cities.

06 Feb 2020

Prepared by: Miquel Sáinz de la Maza (UAB), Núria Blanes (UAB), Raquel Ubach (UAB), Jaume Fons (UAB), Maria José Ramos (UAB)

The majority of the designated quiet areas inside agglomerations is protected against an increase of noise and has been included in an END action plan. Instruments used for this protection range from traffic planning to a more strategic urban development planning that should include noise zoning as an important aspect to take into consideration.
Changes between 2012 and 2017 show that in those cities where there has been an increase of potential quiet urban areas, this increase occurred mainly in areas categorised as green and blue. The change in potential quiet areas varies between cities and further investigations are needed to determine whether this variability between cities is due to other factors such as the use of different traffic noise modelling methodologies used in the two years.
Percentage of green areas is important, but in itself does not ensure good accessibility. There are cases with high share of green areas and low accessibility especially when most of the green areas are concentrated on the periphery (e.g. Sofia).