VTI - Environmental goals and measures relating to the countryside in road and railway planning – Summary and analysis of documents from six countries

There is a lack of well defined environmental goals for the landscape in foreign literature. Similarly, there are few means of measuring the natural and cultural values of the landscape. This has been found in a review of goals and measures in the literature on road and railway planning in Finland, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, the UK and Canada. The work also indicates the need for research and development focusing on:

- developing methods for identifying and evalu-ating the collective natural and cultural values of the landscape,
- further developing landscape-oriented environ-mental goals for different planning levels which take into account the entire landscape instead of being limited to individual areas of interest,
- developing relevant indicators and traceable measures for the environmental goals,
- integrating the environmental goals in the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) in the transport sector,
- studying the consequences of the recently intro-duced environmental legislation.

Goals are often expressed in general and sweeping terms. The most exact formulations are found in the literature from England and Norway. Only a small proportion of the goals have been provided with measures.

Descriptions of goals are more commonly found for the natural environment than for the cultural environment, but in some cases both parts of the environmental concept are included in the same text.

Landscape-oriented environmental goals are more common for planning new infrastructure projects than for actions involving the existing infrastructure. Where goals for the existing infrastructure exist, they are often oriented towards the cultural environment, in particular the cultural values of the infrastructure, such as old bridges and station buildings. The small number of goals regarding the existing infrastructure indicates a problem since the volume of the existing infrastructure is much larger than that of the planned infrastructure.

The aim of the project is to compile and analyse expressions of environmental goals and measures for the landscape and its natural and cultural values in a number of selected countries. The work is limited to rural con-ditions. The interests concerned are the conservation and care of of the natural and cultural environment, in addi-tion to recreation, outdoor life and tourism. Relevant material has been found in about 50 out of about 120 documents published up to and including 1999. The goal expressions have been divided into seven groups: the general environment, the landscape as a whole, the rural scenery, the natural environment, the cultural environ-ment, historic sites, recreation areas. The formulations have been processed from three aspects: a) the degree of concreteness in environmental adaptation or the degree of active adoption of standpoints required from decision makers; b) whether the goals apply to existing or planned infrastructure; c) the decision level for which the goals are intended. Most of the available texts have concerned the national level of decisionmaking. Lower levels have therefore been analysed to a limited extent.

The purpose of the work has not been to provide a comprehensive picture of the goal expressions in the various countries. Rather, the compilation is intended as an aid in the work of the Swedish National Road Administration and the Swedish National Railway Administration for operationalisation of the general environmental goals for Swedish transport policy. In order to establish more precise environmental goals for the landscape, methods will have to be developed for identifying its natural and cultural values. Measures need to be developed for follow-up purposes. However, the lack of measures and measuring methods should not prevent the creation of environmental goals. The establishment of environmental goals will lead to increased demands on the content of the EIA performed prior to infrastructure projects. This is an important aspect in meeting the high demands of the new Swedish environmental legislation on consideration for the environment.

Keywords

  • Environment
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  • Research area: Environment
  • Published: 2001-05-21
  • VTI-code: M879

VTI meddelande 879 (44 pages + 1 Appendix including 15 pages, 335 kB, written in Swedish with an English summary)

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