Explanatory memorandum of Noise Nuisance by Railways Decree

Explanatory Memorandum 1 This is the original memorandum from the july 1987 Decree. Minor changes have taken place in 1989, but the most recent changes from 1993 are somewhat more substantial. The noise standards have not been changed in any way, however. The above text of the Decree complies with latest -1993- version.

A. General

Under sections 105-107, Chapter VII of the Noise Nuisance Act, requirements can be set by general administrative order relating to the nature, composition or manner of construction of a railway, tramway or subway in order to control railwaynoise.

Further, rules to limit railway noise can be established by general administrative order regarding the subjects that have been regulated in Chapter VI of the Act to limit the noise load due to rail, tram and subways. This Decree implements the sections named above.

The objective of this Decree is to set rules regarding the prevention of new noise nuisance situations. It replaces the ministerial circular on the subject of railway noise of May 1, 1979. The circular proved in practice to be an insufficiently effective instrument, particularly with respect tot physical planning developments near railways. The interpretation problems concerning coverage and standard setting that emerged during application of the circular will also become a thing of the past with the appearance of this Decree.

The procedures are limit values for the situations named in the Decree are applicable if, after the Decree enters into force

a. either the construction of dwellings or other noise sensitive structures within the zone of an existing railway is made possible by, or a new railway or a railway modification is projected in, the establishment or revision of a local zoning plan; or

b. the construction or modification of a railway is being considered without application of the local zoning plan procedures followed in conformity with the provisions in this Decree; or

c. application is made for a building permit for a dwelling within the noise zone of an existing railway, which dwelling has been projected in a local zoning plan that was established or revised before March 12, 1983, and for which no building permit has yet been granted at the moment that this Decree enters into force.

This Decree also includes rules for noise sensitive buildings other than dwellings and for terrains belonging to the most noise sensitive category of buildings, such as psychiatric institutions and institutions for the care of the mentally handicapped.

Existing dwellings or dwellings being constructed along an existing railway or a railway under construction do not come under this Decree. These situations include the so-called "clean-up situations" in which a noise load that must be considered undesirable from an environmental viewpoint is present. For this last category, the possibility for obtaining a financial subsidy for the costs of noise aversion or noise limiting measures exists in the Subsidy Program, Railway Noise, Existing Dwellings (Government Gazette, 1985, no. 61).

The Decree includes a zoning ruling that has been taken largely from Chapter VI, Zones along Roadways, of the Act and the Decree "Limit Values within Zones along Roadways" (Staatsblad 1981, 688). A map has been added to the Decree on which all railways, tramways and subways to which the ruling applies have been indicated. At the same time, the width of the zones has been determined on the map, taking into account the preferred limit value for dwellings included in the Decree.

The zone indicates the research region and the reach of the rulings applicability. Acoustic research must be instituted of noise sensitive structures lie within the zone or are being planned there. In this research, the calculated of measured noise load of those structures is tested against the limit values in the Decree.

Taking over most of the Chapter VI ruling is desirable for practical application, since, in addition to this ruling, the zoning ruling for road traffic noise from Chapter VI will often also be applicable to the dwellings concerned.

The most important differences with the zoning ruling for road traffic noise are:

1. A temporary preferred limit value of 60 dB(A) has been chosen for railway noise. In view of the desirability of and current insights into the possibilities for developing quieter railway material, this value will be

tightened to 57 dB(A) beginning in the year 2000. This leads to a preferred limit value of 60 dB(A) until January 1, 2000, after which the current guide value of 57 dB(A) will apply as the preferred limit value (compare the values of 55 and 50 dB(A) respectively of road traffic noise);

2. The ruling has an upper limit of 73 dB(A) as the highest allowable noise load of dwellings which will be tightened to 70 dB(A) by January 1, 2000; no distinction is made between urban and non-urban situations;

3. The ruling does not apply to existing dwellings or dwellings under construction along an existing railway or a railway under construction;

4. The County Aldermen has ultimate decision-making authority on a request for higher value; in anticipation of a definitive position in pursuance of the Noise Nuisance Act evaluation, ministerial approval of such a decision has not been included.

This Decree applies to railways owned by the Dutch Railway Company (Railway Act, Staatsblad 1875, 67) and to tram and subways covered by the Local Rail and Tramway Act (Staatsblad 1900, 118), as indicated on the map mentioned above. For the time being, the zoning ruling will have very limited applicability for tram and subways, because only the Amsterdam and Rotterdam subway lines and the Nieuwegein line have been indicated. These are namely trajectories where the tram or subway noise of the exceeds the noise from nearby roads in such a way that the nuisance experienced by area residents is determined by the railway noise to a significant degree.

The following considerations will in any case also play a role in possible future designations of tram and subways to be zoned. It should concern tram- and subway trajectories where the noise load is determinant for the nuisance. Should the noise load due to the road traffic exceed 65 dB(A), then it will be the determining source if trams on a free track are concerned. Where the tram or subway has to run through tight curves (curve radius less than 200 m), or passes over switches or through intersections, noises with annoying impulses and tones are created. In these cases, the tram or subway noise is determinant if the noise load due to road traffic is less than 60 dB(A) or when the equivalent noise level of the tram is greater than 70 dB(A). By making use of the designation possibilities offered for this purpose in section 1, subsection 1 of the Decree, the Minister of Housing, Physical Planning and Environment in agreement with the Minister of Transport and Public Works can declare the zoning ruling wholly or partially applicable for this kind of tram or subway trajectories. Such a designation only occurs after consultation with the involved railway operator and the municipal administrators.

B. Standard setting

The Noise Nuisance Act has a clear system regarding standard setting in the zoning chapters dealing with road traffic and industrial noise. In both cases here is a preferred value that indicates the rulings lower limit, and a maximum allowable value that indicates the upper limit. The area lying between these values, the band width, indicates the municipal and provincial policy space for allowing a higher value than the preferred value under certain conditions. The Act has the Natural Day value system for all sorts of noise.

The same preferred value of 50 dB(A) is laid down in the Act for both urban and non-urban road traffic noise and for all sorts of industrial noise (continuous, fluctuating, impulse and tonal noise). Moreover, in calculations and measurements of the external separation construction load, a correction of 5 dB(A) is applied for road traffic noise.

A temporary preferred value of 60 dB(A) has been chosen for railway noise, which, from the year 2000, will be tightened by 3 dB(A) to 57 dB(A) in view of the premise stated in paragraph A under point 1. The band width for railway traffic has a maximum allowable value of 73 dB(A) both inside and outside the built-up area. In view of the nuisance perception 21) RL-HR-03-02 Getting accustomed to the noise of a new railway

RL- HR-03-03 Nuisance from railway noise in the residential area

IL-HR-09-02 Characterization ad evaluation of industrial noise

GA-HR-08-02 Nuisance from tram and road traffic noise

and the relative environmental friendliness of public transportation, it is defendable to have higher preferred and maximum allowable values for this case than for road traffic and industrial noise. This does mean that the optimal value for the maximum allowable noise load must be carefully determined within the band width on a situation by situation basis, taking into account, among other things, the technical possibilities for exceeding the preferred limit value as little as possible through source measures, measures in the transfer sphere, or keeping sufficient distance between the railway and the noise sensitive structure.

When a higher value is granted, the inside value of 37 dB(A) will always have the be attained for dwellings to be newly constructed, for railways the bo newly laid (inside existing dwellings) and for railway modifications if the applicable external separation construction load does not exceed the 65 dB(A). This is gone into further in the explanation of section 14.

Research regarding support for the limit values for the noise load of noise sensitive structures other than dwellings has been provided in the framework of the Interdepartmental Committee for Noise research project VL 24. Particularly arguments of communication disruption have played a role here.

C. Procedures

The zoning ruling for railway, tramway and subway noise is a simplified version of the ruling laid down in Chapter VI, Zones

along Roadways, of the Noise Nuisance Act with implementation decrees. The ruling is intended to provide the citizen with sufficient legal security against excessive noise nuisance on the one hand, and to provide housing builders and rail, tram and subway operators with clarity concerning the noise standards to be met and the procedures to be followed when the preferred limit value would be exceeded, on the other hand.

Attention for the noise aspect in the various procedures will consist of performing acoustic research within the zone, obtaining advice from the Inspector for the Environment, testing against the limit values, and possibly following the so-called higher values procedure.

This ruling, like the road traffic zoning, is aimed at integrating the noise aspects into the physical planning process. This means that the above mentioned activities will have to have taken place before the establishment or revision of a local zoning plan. If the construction or modification of a railway is considered without following the local zoning plan procedure according to this Decree, execution is also only possible after the above mentioned actions have taken place.

For the construction of dwellings based on a local zoning plan realized before the Subsidy Program, Railway Noise entered into force on March 11, 1983, a shorter procedure, exists, comparable to the ruling in Chapter VI of the Act regarding the so-called transition situations (sections 91 through 99), resulting in a declaration of no objection from the County Aldermen on behalf of the issuance of a building permit. This shorter procedure is in addition to the possibility of taking the above mentioned actions in the framework of the revision of the local zoning plan.

If the local zoning plan procedure is followed, it is important to pay attention to the noise consequences in as early a stage of the planning process as possible. The inclusion of construction possibilities or the construction or modification of a railway in a local zoning plan implies that the Municipal Executive must perform an acoustic research in the zone of the railway to be laid or modified. If this research indicates that the preferred limit value of 60 dB(A) (as of January 1, 2000: 57 dB(A)) is exceeded even after institution of noise screening measures, the either the Municipal Executive or the railway operator will have to submit a request to the CountyAldermen for the establishment of a higher value. The County Aldermen evaluates the request against the (exemption) criteria and cases that have been largely adopted from the criteria and cases from the Decree on Limit Values within Zones along Roadways (Staatsblad 1981, 688). The interests of good public transportation and the possibility for compactness around stations have been accommodated to a large degree in the Decree under discussion. The projection of dwellings in the vicinity of a station has been included as an extra exemption possibility for establishing a higher value than the preferred value.

A ruling that conforms largely to the ruling for road traffic (for construction of a new road or reconstruction of a road by virtue of sections 79-81) applies to the construction or modification of a railway outside the local zoning plan procedure. The concept "modification of a railway" is described differently in the ruling than the comparable concept "reconstruction of a road".

The general rule is that a modification is understood to be any change in the parameters used in the calculation-prescription to be laid down by the Minister in reference to section 23. There are two exceptions.

1. There is no modification if the actions that are to take place fall within the normal fluctuations because of maintenance, seasonal influences, special occurrences etc. Section 2, subsection 2, gives a detailed description.

2. Nor is there a modification when the increase of the noise load is less then 2 dB(A) and the noise load after the modification is less than the 65 dB(A) level as meant in the Subsidy-program Existing dwellings.

An evaluation of the future noise load against the limit value applying to that situation must be done. If the railway manager judges a violation of this value to be unavoidable, then a request for establishment of a higher value must be submitted to the County Aldermen.

The "Applicable limit value" is defined in this case as the higher value granted in the framework of this Decree, and if this has not been granted, then the value prevailing at the moment of coming into force of this decree. When in the meantime (for example, through clean-up under the Subsidy Program), this value has been lowered, then this lower value applies as the applicable limit value (see also the explanation of sections 11 and 13).

D. Financial consequences

The introduction of the Noise Nuisance from Railways Decree will also have financial consequences. The extent to which these are additional with respect to the current situation is difficult to calculate. The following sections describe qualitatively the extent to which this is expected to be the case for each part.

1. New construction of dwellings

The direct and indirect additional housing costs as a result of the introduction of this Decree are difficult to quantify. On the one hand, the preferred value (until 2000) has been raised to 60 dB(A), which means lower costs (fewer screens, shorter distance between construction and railway). On the other hand, the new ceiling value for exemptions means that in those cases where construction takes place up to the maximum allowable noise level perhaps more costs will on balance be incurred (more land proceeds against higher costs tome being both effects will neutralize one another.

The 1985 expenditure level based n the subsidy program currently in force for new dwellings is estimated at ca. one million guilders. After introduction of this Decree these expenditures will amount to approximately three million guilders, estimated on the basis of the Noise Nuisance Control Implementation Program and current experience. The development of these expenditures in the future depends to a significant degree on the application of the exemption ruling in this Decree.

2. Construction of railways

Calculations made in connection with construction of the Ring Railway in Amsterdam show that the noise measures themselves amount to an estimated two to four percent of the total investment costs based on a 60 dB(A) measures limit and to one to two percent with a 65 dB(A) measures limit. Given that construction in an urban area is involved in this case, it is very probable that this represents an upper limit of the most complicated and, therefore, expensive situations (concerning noise measures) that would arise in this connection.

3. Modification of a railway

Although the Dutch Railways Company wants to institute measures along large distances of the railway network in order to promote service provision, this results in a considerable effect on the noise load in a minority of cases. According to the best current estimates, there are 220 kilometers of track along which the noise load can increase by 2 dB(A) or more, viewed over the coming 30 years. In the most unfavorable case, measures (screening or external separation construction provisions) would have to be instituted along 52 kilometers (total of both sides of the railway). Of this, 27 kilometers already experience a noise load of 65 dB(A) ore more, and are, therefore, in most eligible for noise clean-up.

The measures referred to above will cost circa f 1250 per running meter of track (exclusive of management and maintenance costs). 3 This all-in-amount is based on research done into the price of screens (GH-HR-06-01).


According to the Dutch Railway Company, all of this amounts to a total of f 5 million per year. It must be noted here that this amount can become considerably lower if these measures are combined with clean-up activities that are subsidized by the State or if, for such a modification, a higher value is allowed than the current noise load.

4. Administrative costs

The construction and reconstruction of railways have been attended by many differences in insights in the recent past. This is shown by, among other things, the many questions raised in Parliament about these controversies and the time consuming juridical procedures (Schiphol line, Hoorn, Amsterdam West Ring line). During construction of the Schiphol line, contracts in which noise nuisance aspects also played a role were concluded with municipalities and residents along the line. This matter has not yet been definitely resolved even today.

The ministerial circular Railway Noise (1979) presented many interpretation problems in this kind of situation, while, counter to the circular's recommendations, new construction projects next to the railway could be developed. Experience with control of road traffic noise teaches that the higher value procedure does not mean an unacceptable aggravation of the municipal an provincial task; it compels thorough and timely consultation in noise nuisance situations, but can prevent much administrative consultation and many juridical procedures with their unavoidable delays.

E. Evaluation and deregulation

a. Evaluation

The Noise Nuisance Act Evaluation Commission is expected to make its report in mid- December 1985. It should be stated that in this Decree only a procedural point has been altered; in order to implement the recommendation of the Report to Parliament on Deregulation, ministerial approval of the County Aldermen's decision to establish a higher value has not been included in the ruling.

A definitive position concerning the other deregulation points - such as the replacement new construction problem, limiting noise sensitive structures, exemption criteria and public comment - will still have to be formulated pending the report mentioned above.

b. Deregulation and financial consequences

Attention has been paid to the objectives of the ruling in the paragraph of the Explanatory Memorandum entitled "General" and in the section-specific explanations. There are no overlaps with other existing rulings or with rulings being prepared. A new railways act is being prepared to replace the current Railway Act and Local Rail and Tramway Act. It is expected that this can have consequences for the definitions of concepts. The administrative instruments in the Decree have already been determined in the text of the Noise Nuisance Act. The Minister's authority to approve the County Aldermen's decision to establish a higher value, which is included in the Act, has not been included in the Decree. It is estimated that the Decree will be applicable to circa 50 local zoning plans per year. The Decree does not open any new appeal possibilities where conjunction with the local zoning plan procedure has been sought. An appeal to the Crown against a Municipal Council decision regarding potential noise nuisance measures to be instituted is only possible when a railway is being constructed or modified without application of a local zoning plan procedure; this is analogous to the Act's zoning ruling with respect to roadways.

Point D of the Explanatory Memorandum devotes extensive attention to the Decree's financial consequences. Compensation of municipal and provincial staffing costs in connection with the Decree has already been taken into account in the framework of the existing ruling for general compensation of municipalities and provinces based on section l35 of the Noise Nuisance Act.

F. Comment

A draft of this decree has been published december 24 1985 in the State Gazette. About 10 comments have been received, which for the most part were related to the upperlimit of 70 dB(A) in the draft-Decree. This upperlimit has therefore, and because of the advise of the Environmental Protection Board, been raised to 73 dB(A).

The suggestion of the board to make this raised upperlimit subject to stricter regulation has not been followed, so as not to complicate this decree any further.

Other comments have led to some enlarging of the text of this memorandum.

Section by section explanation

Section 1

The definitions given in section 1, subsection 1 of the Act are applicable to the concepts used in this Decree.

The precept adhered to in designating railways is that the preferred limit value will not be exceeded within the usual minimum distance between the railway and dwellings. This results, for example, in museum lines and most private freight lines not having been designated.

This map can only be altered after consultation with the concerned railway operator and municipal administrators; the precept described above will be adhered to in any alteration. Occasion for doing so can be provided by radical changes in railway traffic or the track, discontinuance or reactivation of existing lines, or construction of a new rail line. The Minister of Transport & Public Works will because of his involvement with the Railway Act and the Local rail and tramway Act take due initiatives.

A lower limit of 2 dB(A) has been introduced in the definition of the concept "modification of a railway" if the resulting noise load is less then 65 dB(A); this is contrary to the analogous ruling for road traffic. This has been done because otherwise the obligation to institute measures would be disproportional to the slight, insignificant increase in the noise nuisance. In those cases however where the noise load exceeds 65 dB(A), so a new improvement situation may be born or an existing bad situation may be aggravated, every possibility should be investigated to combine the modification measures with the improvement program.

Furthermore it is established that activities belonging to normal operation and from which it is clear that no significant change will occur, are exempt from the modification rule. A change of 45% in the intensity of the trains is thereby the guideline. The percentage offers the possibility to accommodate normal fluctuations in freight traffic. The fluctuations may be quite strong if seen over a short time period. Therefore the increase in intensity as referred to in section 1, subsection 2(a), will be determined by taking into consideration, at the moment that an increase is established, the following entities:

a the intensity in the determining year after the moment that the increase begins;

b the mean intensity of the three years before that moment.

This takes into consideration only separate circumstances. When different, in subsections a, b, c, d or e mentioned circumstances apply at the same time in combination, a modification results, but for the exception made in subsection 3

It should be mentioned that the Minister of Transport and Public Works intends to replace the Railways Act and the Local Rail and Tramway Act with a new railways act. As soon as this new Act enters into force, it will be taken into account in this Decree, particularly with respect to the definitions of concepts.

Combining sections of a railway, as referred to in subsection 1(g), can occur when, in an acoustic research to determine the equivalent noise level in the relevant section of the railway, several sections of the railway must be distinguished due to acoustically relevant differences in the above-rail construction of that railway. For the applicability of this Decree, however, the parts of the railway to be combined are always sections of one railway. Two railways are in principle at issue at intersections and bifurcations; therefore, the noise load of both must be determined separately.

The description of a mobil home terrain is such that it is clear that for the purpose of this Decree only permanent placements are intended, as indicated by the municipal Council.

Section 2

The noise sensitive buildings and objects that are relevant for the application of this Decree have been included in this section. These have been largely taken over from the Decree Limit Values within Zones along Roadways.

The reason for including the terrains belonging to the structures named in subsection 1(b) as noise sensitive objects is only to provide protection to that part of the terrain where clear and apparent patient care occurs.

The limit values in the Decree do not relate to the parts of the terrain used by patients for recreational purposes.

Contrary to the ruling for road traffic, care facilities for the elderly have not been included as noise sensitive buildings for the application of this Decree. This means that these facilities will be treated as equivalent to dwellings with respect to the setting of limit values and the procedure.

Based on subsection 2 of section 2, a gymnasium should be counted as part of a school when the noise load of a school building is established. A gymnasium can, after all, serve as a good noise screen for a school building in situations where the noise load is high, while the teaching activities in such a gymnasium can not be called noise sensitive.

As mentioned before, office buildings and social-cultural buildings are no longer qualified as noise sensitive, while centers for mobile homes have been added

Contrary to the Decree Limit Values within Zones along Roadways (Staatsblad 1979, 99), subsection 4 defines the noise load of noise sensitive structures that are used only during the day as the day value of the equivalent noise level. Noise levels occurring evenings and at night do not have to be taken into account for these structures.

Section 3

In determining the zone width for each section of the railway as indicated on the map accompanying the Decree, the underlying premise was that the preferred limit value for dwellings will not be exceeded outside the zone. The location of the zone boundaries depends on the noise production of the concerned railway; in the interest of clarity, zone widths differing by 100 meters have been worked with. The underlying premises in calculating the location of the zone boundary were an observation height of five meters, unimpeded noise dispersion (free field conditions) and current data regarding traffic intensity, speeds, operating conditions, types of materials and track condition. Underground sections have zone widths of 25 meters in any circumstance, because of the fact that noise propagates less in soil. The established zone width can be modified if the noise production form the railway increases of decreases in such a way that it is significant for the required zone width, taking the underlying premises named above into account.

Section 4

Subsection 2 provides that the rules of the Decree are not applicable when the local zoning plan procedure is followed if buildings are present or under construction in the zone of railways that are present or under construction at the time of establishment or revision of the local zoning plan.

Modification of a railway is an exception to this. If a modification is being considered in the framework of the local zoning plan, involving existing dwellings or dwellings under construction, then it is a "new" situation and the requirements of this Decree are applicable.

Subsection 2 is being interpreted in such a way that preservation of existing noise sensitive structures is not at issue only when exactly the same sizes and boundaries from the old local zoning plan are being continued in the new one. Limited changes in sizes and functions also fall under the concept existing situations (replacement new construction). This interpretation makes it possible to covert these structures into dwellings in a predominantly residential urban area where some stores and small offices have diffusely established themselves, without the ruling with respect to new or transition situations becoming applicable. It is also not necessary that the construction to be replaced is present when the new local zoning plan or the local zoning plan in force covers the filling in of open spaces that have recently been created, one can speak of preservation c.q. replacement new construction. In such cases care must be always be taken that no radical change in the planned form or function or a significant increase in the number of people experiencing noise nuisance occurs.

Section 5

The "future noise load" is understood in this connection to mean the noise load that will be created after the construction and rail-construction possibilities planned in the local zoning plan have been realized.

Section 8

The exemption grounds included in this section agree with those in the Decree Limit Values within Zones along Roadways.

Where this and the following section speak of "objections of a traffic planning nature", the safety of railway personnel working on or along the track is among the aspects to be understood.

The exemption grounds given in subsection 2(a) relate to dwellings to be included in a local zoning plan (not yet projected) as well as to projected dwellings (based on a local zoning plan in force, the building permit can be granted).

The possibilities for granting higher values are expanded with the case: location in the vicinity of a station or a stop. The striving for utilization of construction possibilities around stations in the form of high dwelling densities and modification of functions has been taken into account here.

A station's direct sphere of influence should be understood under the concept "vicinity of a station". This concept can be differentiated by a municipality or an province in the framework of a concrete higher value request. 4 GF-HR-07-01 and GF-DR-07-02

The necessary traffic and transport function of a railway to be constructed or modified as named in subsection 2(b) can be shown based on, for example, the traffic and transport structure scheme, the Multi-year Plan for Transporting People, a route plan of a national, provincial or municipal railway, a regional zoning or structure plan, or (the explanation accompanying) a local zoning plan.

The provisions in subsection 3 in fact contain a condition that every request for a higher value with respect to dwellings must satisfy. In practice, however, it is not always possible to meet this legal requirement. In certain cases (for example, roughly outlined land allotment) it is not yet possible when the request is submitted to provide sufficient information about the location of the noise sensitive (occupancy) spaces. Including provisions in a local zoning plan that safeguard that this location will conform to the named requirement can lead to (financial) consequences for housing which cannot be foreseen at the moment of decision-making. If the request dos not make the location of the noise sensitive spaces sufficiently clear, or the reasons why this information cannot be given are not presented, the occasion for dismissing the request arises.

Based on subsection 4, the County Aldermen can grant a whole or partial exemption form the named requirements on interior lay-out if they deem it desirable to do so in the interests of housing or community planning. This possibility can only be used if it is well motivated and the request for a higher value must provide sufficient information about the interests at issue. It is recommended that the municipality indicate explicitly and with sufficient arguments the dwellings for which they cannot satisfy the requirements of subsection 3.

Section 9

With respect to decision-making regarding higher limit values for noise sensitive buildings other than dwellings, it is important to note that, when a request for a higher value satisfies the exemption criteria described in section 9, subsection 2, and pertains to a building whose orientation relative to the railway is such that no noise sensitive indoor or outdoor spaces are (will be) located on the noisy side, this request will, as a rule, be sooner eligible to be granted.

Section 10

In section 10 a maximum allowable value of 65 dB(A) is permitted if a mobile home terrain is concerned or 68 dB(A) if it concerns a terrain appertaining to a psychiatric asylum. With regard to the mobilehome centers it is of importance that when granting a higher level for these homes the consequences for the inside level are to be taken in consideration. Because of technical-economical reasons it is not possible to isolate the "external separation constructions" of the mobil homes, so an increase of the noise load will necessarily lead to an increase of the noise level inside the mobil home. For this reason extra attention must be paid when testing mobil home centers at the limit values of the Noise Nuisance Act.

Section 11

If a railway modification is being prepared and the acoustic research shows that this results in an increase in the noise load of 2 dB(A) or more compared to the noise load before the modification, or that the noise load after modification will be higher then 65 dB(A), then this value must be tested against the limit value applying to that situation.

The limit value that must serve as the starting point (maximum allowable value without exemption) is determined in this section; the "stand-still" principle is followed in this. Analogous as much as possible to the ruling for road traffic noise (section 84 of the Act), two situations are distinguished, depending on whether this Decree has already been applied to the dwelling(s) in question. If so, a highest allowable noise load due to the railway has already been established for these dwellings, or the preferred limit value applies by right.

Subsection 1 provides that when the actual noise load directly before the rail modification is lower than the already established or applicable limit value, this lower value replaces it, unless it is lower then the preferred level.

Subsection 2 covers the cases in which no previous procedure based on this Decree has been followed for the dwellings in the zone of a railway to be modified. The noise load prevailing at the moment when this Decree enters into force is adhered to as the starting value in setting the limit value in this case. When by repeated increases of less then 2 dB(A) without the institution of measures, the stand-still principle is infringed upon, then the railway operator must institute measures to compensate all previous increases if a new modification brings an increase of 2 dB(A) or more.

If, however, measures to limit noise are instituted between the Decree's entry into force and the railway modification (one can think, for example, of screens in the context of clean-up), then it has been determined that the value of the noise load after the institution of measures will be adhered to as the limit value. When a railway operator effectuates a reduction in noise emissions in anticipation of a future railway modification that would give rise to application of this Decree, this can be taken into account when this section is applied if the noise reducing measures is reported as such to the concerned authorities.

It applies in both of the cases described above that the value against which the expected noise load (after the modification) must be tested never has to be lower than 57 dB(A) (until the year 2000 60 dB(A)).

At the request of the concerned municipality or the railway operator, however, the County Aldermen can allow a higher value, which cannot be higher than 73 dB(A) (after 2000: 70 dB(A)).

Section 13

Subsection 2 provides that a less stringent noise aversion requirement than that resulting form subsection 1 applies for dwellings which are under construction or existing at the moment this Decree enters into force and which at that moment are experiencing a noise load of more than 65 dB(A).

In accordance with other types of noise, one can speak of a clean-up situation when the noise load is higher than 65 dB(A). The Subsidy Program, Railway Noise, Existing Dwellings (Government Gazette 61, March 27, 1985), upon which the interim policy is currently being based, has a lower limit of 65 dB(A) for clean-up through external separation construction measures. It seems reasonable in cases of railway modifications to set a less stringent requirement for the interior value than in cases that do not qualify for clean-up, i.e., an interior value of 40 dB(A). This is in conformity with the ruling for road traffic. The above takes into account that clean-up situations will not be subject to a formal ruling.

Section 16

The text of section 16, subsection 5, deviates from the preliminary publication of this Decree, because the Planning Act and -Decree have been changed (Stb 1985,623-625, and 627). The text has been adapted so that when filing a request for a higher value not only may apply to local zoning plans that are to be worked on the basis of section 11 of the Planning Act, but also so-called global end plans may be accounted for.

Section 18

Subsection 3 provides that the decision of the County Aldermen is deemed to have been an approval if a term of three months has expired.

Section 19

This section presents the procedure for construction or modification of a railway that occurs without a local zoning plan procedure being followed or that occurs based on a local zoning plan that has not been drawn up in conformity with the provisions of this Decree. The ruling is in accordance with the provisions in section 79 of the Act (Chapter VI, Zones along Roadways).

Construction of new railways without local zoning plan procedures will not occur often; large scale modifications in inner city areas (such as raising the track in order to avoid intersections, doubling up inside the railway terrain) can, however, take place without alteration of the local zoning plan, if present, or by applying the so-called section 19 procedure of the Physical Planning Act.

Section 21

The section provides the coupling with the exemption procedure for new track sections and track sections to be modified as well as for dwellings or noise sensitive building to be newly constructed.

Section 22

This section, analogous to the ruling in Chapter VI, Zones along Roadways, makes it obligatory to table the construction permit. This obligation relates to dwellings that have been projected when the Decree enters into force (the applicable local zoning plan allows the granting of the construction permit). 5This section was dropped following a general revision of the Noise Nuisance Act

Section 23

This section lays down the authority to promulgate a calculation and monitoring rule for railway noise through means of a decree. This section is almost identical to sections 102 and 73 of the Act, in which this authority is laid down for road traffic noise and industrial noise.

"Expected circumstances" is understood here to mean the circumstances that will be created after realization of the construction possibilities planned in the local zoning plan.

Section 24

As is evident from the beginning of this section, there can ben no overlap with other provisions of this Decree on the subject of construction or modifying railways.

The scope of this section also extends to noise sensitive structures not considered as such in this Decree where people reside for longer periods or where a certain quiet is required for other reasons. One can think of parks, nature areas, and protected quiet regions.

This section is based on section 105 of the Act and sets further requirements for construction of the railway. In particular steel viaducts cause considerable nuisance in many cases. A large reduction in the noise emission can be obtained through adjusting the design or choosing a different material (for example, concrete rather than steel bridges); the noise emission does not have to be higher than that form the construction normally used, to wit: a track welded end-to-end lying on wooden ties.

The calculation and monitoring rule presents how the noise emission from the track construction referred to above can be determined, namely be a difference measurement with respect to the normal track construction of tracks welded end-to-end (that is, seamless tracks on wooden ties in a bed of crushed stone).

Subsection 2 provides the possibility of deviation from the provision in subsection 1 if technical or financial circumstances occasion such deviation.

Section 27

This section provides the possibility for appealing a Municipal Council decision in which, for example, the requirements for noise limiting measures are too high, or if a decision is not made due to slow decision-making and this impedes the railway construction. The appeal possibility relates to a decision made outside the framework of the local zoning plan. 6sections 25, 25 and 27 have been dropped because of general provisions in other legislation covering all possible appeals.

Section 28

The preferred limit value of 57 dB(A) 24 hour value applies from January 1, 2000. The intention is to reduce the source power by 3 dB(A) through measures at the source, both passenger and freight trains, in order to avoid additional external separation construction or transfer provisions because of this tightening of the preferred limit value.

The Minister of Housing, Physical

Planning and Environment