"This is what we did last time". Uncertainty over landscape analysis and its procurement in the Swedish road planning process

Publisher's full text
Hans Antonson
Ann Åkerskog

In some European countries, landscape analysis has long been used in support of large-scale planning or major projects such as new trunk roads and mainline rail routes, in line with both the UN's Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment and the European Landscape Convention. Some countries, however, lack a regulatory framework for what should be analysed, how a landscape analysis should be conducted, or even how it should be procured. Sweden is one such country.

The research project on which this article is based, uses in-depth interviews with twelve key Swedish officials to consider landscape analysis issues in the planning and procurement of road and railway infrastructure. The findings point to the fact that skilled transport planners are not entirely comfortable with the current situation, and the way landscape analysis is handled in daily planning practice varies enormously. For example, nearly all the respondents believe that the way formal landscape analyses are procured is important, not least to ensure quality, yet at the same time they are rarely commissioned separately, even when this is explicitly stipulated by the regulations. There is no generally accepted notion of what 'landscape' might be, and the terms in which respondents describe the landscape do not correspond to the official landscape terminology as set down in the ELC.

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