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Draft Amendments of Noise Control Zone Delineation Operation Standards Preannounced

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After conducting an overall review and adjustment of noise control zone delineation guidelines of the Noise Control Act (噪音管制法) currently used by local governments and taking recent operating experiences and pubic opinions into account, the EPA preannounced the draft amendments of Noise Control Zone Delineation Operation Standards (噪音管制區劃定作業準則) to ensure peace and quiet in people’s living environments. The draft amendments mostly tighten control and serve as standards for local governments to follow when delineating noise control zones. They will also help improve people’s living quality.

The Noise Control Zone Delineation Operation Standards has remained the same with no content reviews since its promulgation on 4 September 2009. Thanks to the National Regional Plan (全國區域計畫) announced by the Ministry of the Interior and the National Spatial Plan (全國國土計畫) revised by the Executive Yuan, no areas in Taiwan now are left out of urban or regional planning. Therefore, Article 5 of the Operation Standards must be revised accordingly.

Moreover, to implement Article 7 of the Noise Control Act, competent authorities in special municipalities, counties, and cities have begun to designate all types of noise control zones, but the guidelines of the current Operation Standards are no longer sufficient. As in some cases, a residential area was designated to more than one noise control zone, a review is indeed necessary to solve such an unreasonable phenomenon.

The EPA mentioned that, even though the Operation Standards already provide local governments with guidelines for designating noise control zones, reevaluation and revisions are needed due to many situations that are unreasonable or have become public concerns. With the transportation infrastructure and new construction projects being completed in recent years, local governments often set different buffer distances alongside the traffic systems, split the same construction base into different noise control zones, or designate traffic land as Class 3 noise control zone, which is used for residential and commercial purposes.

The EPA noted that ensuring a quiet living environment for people was the main focus of the revisions. In addition to clarifying the principles for delineating general noise control zones, for completed construction bases other than highways, express ways, railroads, high speed rails and other land-based traffic systems, the revised Operation Standards specify that local governments shall strive to keep individual construction bases as a whole when delineating noise control zones. Should a construction base simultaneously fall under different noise control zones, the zone with the stricter noise limits should be the designated zone.

Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 23 (7)

Ministry of Environment