The “No TAV” movement, spontaneously born in the 1990s, is the grass-roots movement of the Susa Valley population against the construction of the tunnel.
Composed mainly of civil society committees and organisations and local institutions, their struggle is motivated by the need to protect the environment but it is also a political and cultural struggle against the development logic of globalisation all over the world.
This case study explores the motives and rationale of the main actors, highlighting the role of power relations and an underlying clash of ideologies, and suggesting how tools and concepts of ecological economics might be applied to support alternative proposals from civil society.
Keywords: Transport and energy, Material Flows, Participatory democracy, Cost Benefit Analysis, Multi Criteria Evaluation, High speed, NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard), activist knowledgetop The early 1990s saw the development of high speed train lines (Treno Alta Velocita, or TAV) across Italy as massive sums of public money were invested in order to provide the country with a railway network that could compete at the European level.
The No TAV movement against high speed grew to become one of the strongest in the country, successfully blocking the implementation of the project for nearly two decades by presenting obstacles for Pro TAV advocates.
The struggle against the Treno Alta Velocita (TAV) Turin-Lyon has become one of the most important social movements in Italy in the last 20 years.
The area is scarred by infrastructure like the Frejus highway, an international railway, and numerous dams, tunnels and industries.
In contrast, supporters of the project are mainly found in European, national, and provincial governments and in companies and corporations driven by private interests in infrastructure and trade development.
They argue that the TAV would improve passenger and goods transport, providing a more ecologically sound transport alternative that would also create employment and contribute to economic development.
Not only is it part of a national railway development plan, it is also one of the priority infrastructure projects of the European Union (EU), as the Turin–Lyon segment will form the intersection of two main axes connecting northern Europe to the south, west and east of the region.
It is a key element of “Corridor n°5” on the west-east axis that will link Lisbon to Budapest initially and to Kiev eventually, completing the European railway network by developing passenger and goods transport.