Effect of noise measures for birds

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Background

The impacts of noise on birdlife are well proven, and dose-effect relationships and critical levels are described in scientific literature. On the basis of previous TRIEKOL research, Trafikverket developed a method that points out road stretches where the traffic noise exceeds critical levels and impacts species of conservation concern, and in addition pointed out habitats where noise prevention should prioritized.

While a number of measures to reduce noise for people are used (e.g. screens, berms, adapted paving, traffic calming), their performance for birds have not been tested. Mitigating traffic noise in important bird areas is expected to add significantly to the cost of road/railway construction and maintenance.

To enable cost-effectiveness analyses of noise reduction in important bird areas, the reduction effect of different measures need to better known, and combined with available cost estimates for the different types of measures.

Acoustic ecology is an emerging field, and to our knowledge, similar studies as these here proposed has not been conducted, so the results are expected to gain international attention.

Activities

In this subproject we will study the effects of noise mitigation along existing road/railway stretches near important bird habitats. Birds are censused in areas where noise screens are installed along an impacting road/railway and in comparable but unmitigated reference habitats, both before and after mitigation (i.e. BACI design). 

In addition to these new studies, available data from the previous BACI studies on birds along the Botniabanan railway will be compiled, (re-)analyzed and published scientifically, to produce a final insight in the main results regarding the railway´s impact on birds. This publication will also contain an overview of the international knowledge level regarding the impact of railway disturbance on birds (particularly wetland birds). 

Output

This subproject gives an insight in to what degree available noise mitigation measures are at all functional for birdlife. In addition, it produces more insight into the impacts of railways on birds, where the knowledge today is particularly sparse.

Study objects/sites

Planning for study sites are ongoing, with the following sites in Trafikverket regions Syd and Väst as candidates:

  • E6 at Råån, Helsingborg; screens along the bridge will be contructed
  • Road 100 along Falsterboljung
  • Road 11 at Klingavälsån, Veberöd
  • E6 at Häljarp
  • E4 at Rosendal (near Kropp)
  • E6 at Fyllinge, Halmstad
  • E20 at Mängsholm, Vårgårda; new E20 will be constructed and accordingly traffic will decrease on the current road
  • E22 at Sjöarp, Ronneby
  • E4 at Röttleån, Gränna
  • E6 at Genevadån, Gullbranna
  • E6 at Bratteforsån, Ljungskile
  • Västkustbanan railway near Getterön N2000 area; various noise mitigation planned along existing railway

Further objects/sites can be added to the research, if noise mitigation will be conducted in other important bird habitat during the study period. 

Photo: J-O Helldin