INERCO-LED European consortium completes the largest ever international noise monitoring project in Turey
The “Technical Assistance For Implementation Capacity For The Environmental Noise Directive (EuropeAid/131352/D/SER/TR)” project, co-funded by the European Union (EU) and the Government of Turkey, has been completed with absolute success. The project, carried out by a consortium led by INERCO and with the participation of the companies EXTRIUM (United Kingdom), INASEL (Spain) and KMO (Turkey), enabled the creation of a noise map for 17 of the main Turkish cities, with a total population of almost 27 million people (a quarter of the country’s population) and a budget of 6 million euros.
The work made it possible not only to determine levels of environmental noise exposure affecting the populations of Turkey’s largest urban centres, but also to develop methodologies and tools to train the staff of the different national authorities, responsible for continuing to implement European noise regulations.
The project was carried out over a period of 30 months, and was one of the largest noise-related projects to have taken place in Europe in recent years. Within the noise exposure analysis, the population of Istanbul alone (13 million people) exceeds the largest population centres studied to date: Madrid (3.1 million), Paris (9.6 million) and London (9.3 million). The work enabled an acoustic diagnosis to be developed not only for these urban areas, but also for the port of Samsun and Adana airport. A methodology, adapted to the needs of the Turkish government, was also created to identify urban areas of the cities that had ambient noise exposure problems.
A catalogue was also created, analysing the most efficient environmental noise mitigation measures applied at the international level; this serves as a set of guidelines to assist in the design of future action plans in Turkey. In addition to this, 15 training programmes, with a duration of around 400 hours, were provided for over 300 participants.
The closing ceremony was attended by all the Turkish institutions and beneficiaries involved as well as companies that collaborated in the project, and was presided over by the Turkish Minister of the Environment and Urban Planning, Fatma Aydin; the deputy director of the Financial Cooperation and Infrastructure, Social and Regional Projects Department of the European Union (EU) delegation, Virve Vimpari, and the advisor to the Economic and Trade Office of the Spanish Embassy, Aurora Tarruella.
The Minister of the Environment and Urban Planning highlighted the importance for Turkey of ambient noise monitoring and management and the way in which the project had “made it possible to improve the capacity of the country’s institutions to undertake future projects in this area.” Similarly, Aydin mentioned the great challenge Turkey is currently tackling to achieve full uniformity and application of all environmental management legislation.
The EU representative, Virve Vimpari, highlighted the importance of environmental projects within the collaboration framework programme between Turkey and the EU and highly praised the project’s results. Aurora Tarradella spoke along similar lines, touching on the importance of collaboration between the Turkish authorities and European institutions for mutual benefit.
Subsequently, the highest-level functionaries of the Ministry for the Environment and Urban Planning with responsibility for the project, the director of the Department of Air Quality and Management, Betül Aydin, and the head of the Noise and Vibrations Division, Safiye Bilgili, explained the present situation of noise monitoring and management. They emphasised the recent update to Turkish noise regulations, in line with the requirements of the European Environmental Noise Directive and the completion of the strategic noise maps covering over 20 urban centres, including the strategic noise maps of the 5 large cities which were created within the scope of the project.
There was also a presentation from the leader of the consortium’s technical team Volker Irmer, the data handling expert Saul Davies, the noise modelling expert Simon Shilton and the project manager María Risco Nardiz. They spoke about the methodology of the works and the main achievements, highlighting:
- The close collaboration between international experts of the consortium’s technical team and the Turkish authorities and beneficiaries, which had enabled the successful conclusion of the project, meeting all objectives set by the Turkish Ministry of the Environment and Urban Planning.
- The numerous training and documentation activities carried out during the project to ensure sustainable results.
- The technical complexity of the project, with the total area modelled covering over 5,000 km2 in more than 20 different locations across the country.