LEGAL ASPECTS ON ENVIRONMENTAL NOISE AND URBAN SOUNDSCAPE REHABILITATION IN MEDITERRANEAN COUNTRIES: THE CASE OF GREECE
Free (open access)
Volume 7 (2012), Issue 4
484 - 494
KONSTANTINOS VOGIATZIS & KYRIAKOS PSYCHAS
Noise is an important environmental factor affecting the degradation of the urban environment and the quality of life especially where climatology favors outdoor activities and nightlife. In Greece, quality of life has been established as a legal concept protected by the Constitution (Article 24). Quality of life is characterized by the soundscape, which contributes to the aesthetic quality of outdoor space. The existing Greek legislation deals with environmental noise on the basis of a rather quantitative approach, that is max. permissible levels persource, and does not clearly take into account a wider conception of the acoustic environment. The realization of the need for legal cover of environmental acoustic landscape protection has led to the creation of an autonomous branch of law, that of environmental law, which has recently introduced regulations regarding anti-noise planning, and the implementation of the Environmental Directive 2002/49/EC. Moreover, environmental noise in tourist cities is not fully covered by relevant laws. Only partial legal texts were implemented due to the difficulty of establishing laws aiming at the protection of the quality of life which is closely related to the rhythm of the Mediterranean city urban structure and life, the local economic model, various cultural and meteorological parameters, as well as the inhabitant and tourist perception of the noise climate. Quality of life in relation to the acoustic environment concerning recreation activities can be achieved using appropriate criteria regarding sleep quality and sleep disturbance. It is this need for a comprehensive legal framework that led to the creation of environmental law, whose primary purpose is the all-encompassing legal approach of the environmental noise problem. The basic characteristics of this type of law are its intense pragmatic and empirical character, its dependence on EU legislation and its close relation to economic growth and technology.
environmental law, environmental noise, noise annoyance, soundscape, touristic areas