Uppföljning av naturmiljöeffekter i MKB för väg- och järnvägsprojekt: utgångspunkter och uppläggning

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Lennart Folkeson

Monitoring is a neglected area in the work on environmental impact assessments (EIA) for road and rail projects in Sweden. The intention of the report is to contribute to development of methodology for EIA follow-up in the road and rail sector by discussing the need for EIA follow-up and the considerations on which this should be based. The work is confined to the natural environment and is not concerned with monitoring the economic sense.

Effect monitoring may be carried out in order to check that the environmental effects are acceptable and in line with sustainable development; to note the risk of unforeseen effects; to protect and develop natural values and ecological interactions; to enhance the reliability of the decision base; to enhance the effectiveness of environmental measures taken; to raise the environmental awareness of the players involved, and to provide feedback of experience data for future infrastructure planning. The need for monitoring should be assessed on the basis of a holistic perspective where the follow-up activities provide a comprehensive idea of the environmental effects of roads and railways. The construction phase and irreversible effects may require special attention. Methodology should be developed for the way qualitatively expressed monitoring data can be treated in relation to quantitative data. Good baseline data must be secured and existing survey material subjected to critical appraisal. The do-nothing alternative must be treated in the same way as the construction alternatives. The report discusses effect monitoring concerning fauna, vegetation, soil, water and landscape, and the interaction between these. The treatment of cumulative effects is also discussed.

The aim of process follow-up is to scrutinise the effectiveness and appropriateness of EIA work. Follow-up may for instance examine how decisions with environmental implications are implemented in later planning stages.

Quality appraisal often focuses on the EIA document, for instance with regard to clarity and lucidity, description of methodology, presentation of results, treatment of the do-nothing alternative, and the need for monitoring environmental impacts. Appraisal may also concern data quality and data uncertainty, and treatment of lack of information. An appraisal is also made to find whether attention has been given to the critical environmental impacts.

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