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Variation and stability in Dutch noise policy: an analysis of dominant advocacy coalitions

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Noise exposure has harmful effects on human health. Despite policy on the prevention and reduction of noise, the environmental burden is increasing, specifically due to road traffic noise. Noise policy in the Netherlands is organised in a rather complex way, with different legal frameworks for the various sources of noise. Whereas noise limits have frequently been adjusted in the traffic noise policy subsystem, the industrial and aviation noise policy subsystems are characterised by stability in norm setting. This paper aims to explain the differences in dynamics within the noise policy subsystems, by applying the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF). We conclude that the dynamics in the traffic noise policy subsystem is mainly due to two adversary coalitions advocating legislative arrangements to accommodate respective spatial claims. The stability in industrial and aircraft noise policy subsystems is explained by ‘balanced’ coalitions and a dominant economy coalition, respectively. We identified the (only) path to policy change in Dutch noise policy to be cross-coalition learning in which ‘policy brokerage’ might be crucial. We conclude with some reflections on the use of ACF in empirical research and the role of professional forums and institutional arrangements in stability and/or change in policy subsystems.
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Keywords: Advocacy Coalition Framework; actors; noise policy; policy variation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2013

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