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NO-TAV movement against High Speed Train, Val di Susa, Italy


The Turin–Lyon high-speed railway is a planned 220 km/h railway line that will connect the two cities and link the Italian and French high-speed rail networks.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:NO-TAV movement against High Speed Train, Val di Susa, Italy
State or province:Province of Turin, Piedmont
Location of conflict:Val di Susa and Val Sangone mountain community
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Land acquisition conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The high-speed line Turin-Lyon is a key element of the European Priority Project TEN-T n° 6 and part of the Mediterranean Corridor that will link the Iberian peninsula to the Ukrainian border.

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Project area:235 km [railway line length]
Level of Investment:34,050,000,000.00 USD [25,000,000,000.00€]
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:114,223[population of the Val di Susa and Val Sangone mountain community]
Start of the conflict:1990
Company names or state enterprises:Geomont fondazioni speciali s.r.l. from Italy - Geognostic surveys and special foundation
Cooperativa Muratori & Cementisti (Gruppo CMC) from Italy - Construction
Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (RFI) from Italy - Management of the italian railway infrastructure
STRABAG (STRABAG) from Austria - Constructions
COGEMA from France - Excavations
Bentini Spa from Italy
GEODATA Engineering from Italy - Geoengineering design
Réseau ferré de France (RFF) from France - Management of the french railway infrastructure
Lyon Turin Ferroviaire (LTF ) from Italy - General contractor [binational association, main office in Chambéry, Francia; scondary office in Torino, Italy]
Relevant government actors:Province and city of Turin, the Piemonte Region, the Italian government, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, TAV Turin-Lyon Observatory
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Controsservatorio Valsusa ETINOMIA ethical entrepreneur for defend the common,National Federation pro natura Piemonte, local Green Party, Five Star Movement, Left Ecology Freedom party, Communist parties, Legambiente, Chiesa Valdese, Arci ValleSusa
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Industrial workers
Informal workers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Trade unions
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Refusal of compensation
Appeals to the European Parliament; The Controsservatorio Valsusa, association constituted in early 2014, presented in April 2014 a petition to the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal (an indipendent international opinion tribunal which examines and provides judgements relatives to violations of human rights and rights of peoples) The petition denounces the violation of local citizens fundamental rights (right to health, right to environment, right to a decent living standard, right to information, right to partecipate in decision that affect your life); Promotion of alliances with other struggles and local movements in Italy and Europe (especially with other countries concerned by the high speed lines) through the promotion of conferences, national demonstrations, camping
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Noise pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Air pollution
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsThe mountains where the tunnel will be implemented contain uranium and asbestos that would be released into the atmosphere during the works. The extraction of uranium from the Ambin mountain range could expose workers and the local population to radiation and therefore to tumours and leukaemia.
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Loss of landscape/sense of place, Land dispossession
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Project temporarily suspended
In the '90s during the first wave of arrests, two activists, Edoardo Massari e Soledad Rosas, were jailed accused of sabotage to TAV project, the two died in prison suicides.
The ongoing repression of the No TAV movement includes more than one hundred cases with almost one thousand different defendants and charges, including accusations of sabotage and attack with terrorist purposes.
In early 2012 the italian low “Legge di stabilità” defined the work sites of the project as an area of strategic national interest, protected by military forces and with special measures for those who enter illegally in the area.
In 2013 started the ongoing MAXI Process against 52 NOTAV accused for the events which occurred in clashes with police during protests in June and July 2011.
Recent arrests date back to December 2013 when four NOTAV were arrested by the Prosecutor of Turin, who accused them of “actions aimed at a terroristic attack” for having taken part to an action against the project construction site in May 2013. The Supreme Cassation Court of Italy rejected the accusation but protesters are still in prison waiting for the process.
Development of alternatives:Freights and passengers could be transported using the existing railway line, the Frejus international railway, crossing the Susa Valley and connecting Turin to Lyon, recently renewed and improved (2002-2010) but up to now used for less than a quarter of its capacity.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The No TAV movement has extended in popularity and geographical spread in Italy and other European countries in the years and raised attention at National and European level on the environmental and economic controversies of a big infrastructural project.
NO TAV has tried to draw attention to the lack of a proper EIA, lack of consultation with local communities and poor project planning. Their criticisms have been based on solid argumentation and scientific research. The strength of the movement stems from its capacities for network organization, multi-sectorial collaboration and research, which enabled credible alternative proposals.
Presently the geognostic tunnel is under construction and protests to stop the project are still ongoing.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

LEGGE 12 novembre 2011, n. 183. Provisions for the preparation of the italian State annual budget
[click to view]

LEGGE 23 aprile 2014, n. 71. Ratification and implementation of the Agreement between Italy and France
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

AA. VV. (2002), Impatto sul territorio delle grandi infrastrutture di trasporto: Il caso del TAV Torino-Lione, Seminario del Torino Social Forum sul Piano Strategico 2000-2010 per Torino - 20 febbraio 2002.
[click to view]

Prud'homme R. (2007), Essai d'analyse de l'utilité sociale du tunnel Lyon-Turin, Université Paris XII

The Handbook: Ecological Economics from the Bottom-Up. Chapter 2: HIGH SPEED TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE (TAV) IN ITALY
[click to view]

Railway Related Impacts:the Turin-Lyon High-Speed Rail Case.M. Clerico,L.Giunti,L.Mercalli, M. Ponti, A. Tartaglia, S.Ulgiati,M. Zucchetti, Politecnico di Torino (Italy), Fresenius Environmental Bulletin (in print, 2014)

Profanazioni No-TAV. Riappropriazioni del comune e processi di soggettivazione, di Emanuele Leonardi, Federico Chicchi, 2008.
[click to view]

Network Rail, 2009. New Lines Programme. Comparing the Environmental Impact of Conventional and High Speed Rail.
[click to view]

Presidiare la democrazia - Controsservatorio Valsusa, Petition to the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal, April 2014
[click to view]

EC (European Commission) White Paper - Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system Brussels
[click to view]

Stop That Train! Ideological Conflict and The Tav. Lucie Greyl, Hali Healy, Emanuele Leonardi, Leah Temper. Special Issue “Transport Economics and the Environment” of the Journal “Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment”, 2012.

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

LTF Official website
[click to view]

TAV Turin-Lyon Observatory website
[click to view]

Italian government website
[click to view]

European Commision, Mobility and Transport
[click to view]

NOTAV websites
[click to view]

[click to view]

[click to view]

Controsservatorio Valsusa
[click to view]

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Last update18/08/2019
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