Landskapsanalys och upphandling: en intervjustudie med aktörer i väg- och järnvägsplaneringen

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Hans Antonson
Ann Åkerskog

This report builds on interviews with twelve key individuals concerning issues surrounding landscape analysis (LA) during the planning and procurement process for roads and railways. The background to the study is the long-established use of LA to support broad-scale planning and large projects such as new trunk roads and mainline rail routes.

In its strategic plan the then Swedish Road Administration (Vägverket) decided that from 2010 onwards all public road-building projects must include a formal landscape analysis and design programme. However, there is no regulatory framework to say what should be analysed, or how the analysis should be conducted.

There is considerable variation in the experiences and opinions of those interviewed, from which it can be concluded that project leaders at the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) adopt different styles of working depending on which geographic region or individual project they are associated with. For example, a common understanding of what ‘landscape’ might mean is largely missing, while the way that the respondents describe the landscape does not correspond to the official landscape terminology as set down in the European Landscape Convention (ELC). The term design programme presents a similar case, whereas the concept of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is well established and goes unquestioned by the interviewees, because it is used both in legislation and in the literature.

Another conclusion is that there is little in the way of consensus concerning LA except for a common perception that there is a lack of guidelines or assistance from the responsible authority (Trafikverket) in the form of a handbook or a dedicated chapter in the existing EIA handbooks. The importance of a handbook or similar document to the respondents is striking. There is uncertainty as to how to assure the quality of a given LA, and often a review of the EIA is regarded as sufficing for the LA as well.

There are two schools of thought among the respondents as to when an LA should be carried out: either early in the planning process, or continuously throughout the entire planning process. In reality, though, there is a third school of thought evident in the existing planning system: that an LA is a part of the EIA, and as such should first take place during the consultation process.

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