High Speed Train, No thanks!

No Tav Venaus Val di Susa.jpg
photo: Venaus, Val di Susa by www.legambientevalsusa.it

“We don’t want soldiers in the valleys” is the wording of posters written by the inhabitants of the militarised Val di Susa (the Susa valley) after the inhabitants protested in the tiny mountain villages against the High Speed Train project.
The thinking of these people counts for less than zero, in fact no-one asked them if they were in agreement before giving the go-ahead to the project.

It’s they that live there and their voice is important.
Responding by sending in the army is an error.
These citizens cannot just suffer the decisions of the State, because the idea is that they are the State, even though our employees in Parliament have not realised that.

Has anyone explained in a public debate BEFOREHAND the environmental impacts , the benefits and the costs of this project? And has anyone gathered and given value to their opinions?

We can’t continue to impose decisions as though they are dictated by higher interests.
People count.

And then are we really sure that the employees Pisanu and Lunardi are right and the people of the Valley wrong?

The secretaries and the provincial administration of the Fire Fighters in Turin said the following in an official document:

“the work, as it is planned and being put into practice, represents a serious danger for the population and for the environment.”

Is that a good enough reason to protest?

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 06:19 PM in | Comments (13)
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It is interesting to see what will be the approach to the High Speed Train (TAV) problem from the new centre-left Italian Governemnt.
In their Programme was not clear the official position of the coalition regarding this controversial project. Most probably because inside the actual Government coalition there are different approach to the problem. So it will an interesting test to evaluate how they (the governemnt) will address the TAV or the NOTAV!!

I'm following a Open University course (master) about Environmental decison making, and the TAV is a good example of decion to be taken considering social, economic, environmental and sustainable development aspect of the issue. I decided to present as my project the analysis of the TAV decison making process trying to hear more voice in favour and against the TAV project.
So any contribution will be welcommed and will be put in the reaserch!
18 May 2006 Aldo

Posted by: Aldo Tenisci | May 18, 2006 10:05 AM

I'd suggest reading some of the material published (in Italian) on http://WWW.NOTAVTORINO.ORG; a quick summary of what is the plan and what are the reasons why the high velocity/capacity trains would not benefit the nation can be found under "per iniziare ..." >> "TAV: chi la vuole e chi no" and "10 grandi bugie".

An interesting nugget: the website states that the company responsible for implementing the 10+ years long work of drilling the mountain and building the railway appears to be Rocksoil apparently led by the wife of LUNARDI, the Italian government minister for the infrastructures. Isn't this conflict of interests?

Posted by: giorgio brajnik | December 7, 2005 10:18 AM

Dear Beppe Grillo,
this NO-TAV story is worth taking a closer look as a perfect example on how "no global" mis-information and "not in my backyard" can spur a dangerous mix of protest and violence.
The interesting thing is that on the other side of the mountains (in France), they have exactly the opposite opinion, as they see the railway tunnel as the solution for a terrible problem you have mentioned several times in the past few years: TIR.
And, looking in the nearby Swiss Alps, as we speak two new railway tunnels (Loetschberg and Gotthard) are being furiously excavated for the same reason. And you can rest assured that the Swiss do not make such huge investments for nothing: all future cargo traffic between Italy and Germany will have to pay an expensive ticket to go through these new railway tunnels.
Hans Meier


Posted by: Hans Meier | December 6, 2005 10:49 AM

Poznan, 5 December 2005

People above all, is the reason for democracy. And democracy is a method to implement this principle.
The statement that the environmental impact analyses carried out for the Messina Strait Bridge are “ludicrous – to say the least” let us understand not only that has Stefania Oggioni gone across all the relevant technical documentation, but also that she is in condition to explain us her own technical confuting comment.
Local people have the sacred right to obtain adequate explanation about projects that involve their interests, but they not always – or rarely – master the scientific and technical arguments that enable them to understand and discuss to confute or approve. As to Val di Susa, it seems that local population is even preventing the geotechnical investigations that are necessary to obtain basic data for a more correct and complete analysis of the project presumable impact (this kind of studies – as many other technical analyses – can only provide “reasonable expectations”, and no absolute certainty, despite the frequent use of highly sophisticated methodologies. One can therefore imagine how technically reliable may be the more or less emotional beliefs of the people in the street). These are strong emotional actions that impede the practice of civilized and democratic procedures, which are mandatory to implement initiatives of a public interest, to be followed under the political responsibility of democratic governments and supported by responsible specialized institutions and technical commissions.
“Not in my back-yard” philosophy is an ideological virus that undermines not only development but democracy itself.

Posted by: Mario Ludovico | December 5, 2005 01:54 AM

People count.
And the people of Susa Valley cannot be considered mentally impaired selfish louts - if this high speed thing is so invaluable and its impact justified by its benefits, explain it to the locals and I am positive they will understand. At least, one shouldn't assume they won't.
I would like to ask our President Ciampi to meet the local majors, who will be more than happy to explain the President why they oppose the project.
Mario Ludovico: yes, theoretically every project in Italy must undergo an environmental impact analysis; however, the analysis at times are ludicrous to say the least. Like the one for the Messina Strait Bridge, to name one.
Klaus: rioting is not a very constructive way to solve Italy's problems :)

Posted by: Stefania Oggioni | December 2, 2005 07:22 PM

Why the high speed train when there is the need to fix the whole railway system in Italy, where in a lot of locations there is so much traffic backup to delay people for hours just because a lot of already existing railroads have been ripped off the ground 40 years ago?
Why not fix this first and then move on to the high speed?
Is like the already nightmarish shape of the Italian Postal Service, where we have to pay an extra to have a normal delivery.
That pisses me off royally.
Looks like there is a motto saying: "It's fucked up? Pay us more, so we can forward your service anyway."
Is like passing the broom and hiding the garbage under the carpet.
All these overpayed government figures should be put to clean bathrooms instead of trying to manage situations that deteriorate year after year because they don't know and don't care at all.

Posted by: Giovanni Principe | December 2, 2005 06:47 PM

The new line won't bring any improvement on the quality of the service, it just will make it A LITTLE faster, but there are very few people using it, and few will rest since it will always be slower and more expansive than traveling by plane.
For ggods transportation (wich is the rel matter) the long time they took to reach destination is due to the too many stops, todays train can easily travel at 100 km/h but commercial speed ( average speed wich includes stop time) is 19 Km/h. So the matter clearly is not top speed but the avilability of lines. What we suggest is work and the already existing line, it will cost just 1 bilion euro instead of 15, will be complete in 3 years instead of 20 and, in the wors case, will be sufficient fo 30 years. And I don't believe anyone can seriously say he knows what Europe (or The world) will be 30 years from now.

Posted by: Roberto Gastaldo | December 2, 2005 11:17 AM

Enrico saied "Why not increasing their use instead of making high-speed lines????"

do you think that people will start using the slow and uncomfort trains that are the standard now?

Posted by: paul | December 1, 2005 12:31 PM

Watching some TV talks I got more than an evidence that such protesters were compared to rebels or even riots against national progress... but none of the eminent "progressists" openly discussed about the REAL benefits and the REAL drawbacks...just they called things by name without getting deeper into facts...In these situations, there's only one answer: GREAT benefits but for FEW people...I read that railway as traport way is not as much expolited as ships or trucks really are... in facts during off-peak periods (i.e. nighttime), very few trains are in transit...Why not increasing their use instead of making high-speed lines????

Posted by: Enrico Melodia | December 1, 2005 11:29 AM

Well. The Italian President Azeglio Ciampi actually doesn't live in Italy. Judging from his words looks like he's living in Disneyland.
I suspect he wears mickey mouse ears when none 's around.

Posted by: marco vecchi | December 1, 2005 08:38 AM

Soon or later in Italy you will rise your heads and you will riot like you never did before.
Your concept democracy seems to be quite discutible.
That's a pity.

Beppe Grillo, it was a good idea to translate your posts in English. It gives visibility to italian dirty affairs.

Posted by: Klaus Eisenmann | December 1, 2005 08:36 AM

30 Nov. 2005
I fear that an impressive deterioration of the idea of “democracy” is in progress. The fact that decisions of a general interest - deliberated by legitimate governments and supported by legitimately elected parliaments - are considered as only a kind of criminal violence, and that decisions concerning major infrastructure must first be approved or rejected by local communities, seems indeed a misleading and dangerous criterion. Though, completely different attitude is, in every case, the public discussion on the technical appropriateness of any project of a general interest. We have the quite recent example of the dramatic displacement of Israeli farmers from Gaza, to grasp what – from the Israeli people’s standpoint – could mean the need for an extreme sacrifice, democratically decided by that government in a farsighted view of the common good. Instead, in Italy, from a number of seasons, regional and central governments, appointed through democratic procedures, are requested to capitulate in front of any violent dissent organized by a few thousands of local populations (compared to tens of hundreds million people of Italy and Europe), because this is for many the true path to the true democracy. Should we accept such a principle, neither region nor nation can any more be considered as manageable. Any demagogic opposition to governments in charge might – on the basis of quite minor mobilization of local communities - paralyze any governmental plan. In Val di Susa, it seems evident, local people have quite fuzzy ideas about what is scientifically detrimental for people, nor can the firefighters in Turin be taken for an unquestionable (or pertinent) source of scientific information. Finally, we should remember that every public project must by law in Italy undergo an environmental impact analysis, and that the results of such analyses may be accessed by the public.

Posted by: Mario Ludovico | November 30, 2005 11:28 PM

Italian president CARLO AZEGLIO CIAMPI said this is a great thing!

Posted by: john rossato | November 30, 2005 08:26 PM

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