The need to preserve natural quietness, as a resourceful land protection strategy, has increased with the need to implement the EU's Environmental Noise Directive (END, 2002/49/EC) at a national level. We implemented distance-based criteria with view to defining potential Quiet Areas (QAs) in open country of Greece.Residential areas, industrial sites and traffic noise are the main environmental noise sources considered according to END's prerequisites. Also following the particular characteristics of the country (e.g. leisure facilities) we considered recreational areas and construction sites for our analysis, as well as the cumulative effects of noise sources. The spatial analysis of QAs in open country indicated that the higher values of clustering are found in places of high biodiversity value (as these were characterized by the Habitat's Directive 92/43/EEC), thus multiplying the need for QAs to be preserved.Although distance-based criteria are considerably less accurate than true noise levels calculations, our research serves as a first step for the estimation of QAs in open country at the national level, before moving on to on-site measurements for the complete definition of QAs (at the regional level), thus providing a rapid, comprehensible but above all a cost-effective solution for the assessment of QAs by management responsibles.
- Distance-based criteria
- Environmental noise directive
- Protected areas