Code of Practice
and communicate base data locating valued and/or sensitive landscapes, habitats
and species including data from national and local voluntary sources. Encourage
the establishment of databases for biological records.
landscape and ecological processes including the spatial and temporal aspects of
landscape, habitat and species.
the level of data in relation to the stage of scheme design, but when collecting
data remember to accommodate seasonal constraints.
the interactions with other aspects such as the engineering requirements and
and inform those affected and interested in the scheme as soon as possible and
throughout the process
a mutual understanding between the client, engineer and environmental
specialists including by training and workshops.
Application of SEA
or EIA should assist in balanced decision making for the approval of transport
plans and projects. Greater emphasis needs to be given to the application of
environmental assessment where required, throughout the decision making process,
rather than a one-off examination required for building consent only. Within
this process knowledge and understanding are essential at a political and
Knowledge is a
fundamental part of the planning process associated with the development of the
linear transport schemes (Box 3.5) Three perspectives interplay:
- an understanding
of what the scheme comprises in relation to the overall objectives including
aspects such as design and safety standards with associated implications
relating to vertical and horizontal alignment, construction method, and user
characteristics i.e. type and quantity;
- an understanding
of the landscape and biological diversity features involved, including their
importance, internal dynamics and external influences; and the effects of the
transport infrastructure on them.
- an understanding
of the effects of the infrastructure beyond the immediate confines of the
proposals within the assessment.
Data relating to
biological and other environmental records are essential in the application of
EIA. The co ordination and establishment of such data bases greatly assists with
EIA and should be encouraged. The level of detail required for this information
partly relates to the stage of the scheme as well as what is practicable and
reasonable. ‘’Snap shot’’ biological records can be misleading and
seasonal constraints to data collection need to be accommodated in the overall
programme of the scheme. Apparently premature or on going
collection of data can be importanteven if the
collection is not in line with requirements of the proposals at that time.
Statutory and non-governmental bodies may be able to assist in the provision of
Knowledge of the
geographical distribution of assets should be accompanied by specialist
knowledge on the functioning of the landscape/habitat /species. On account of
the indirect wide reaching effects of transport schemes this needs to relate to
an area beyond the immediate confines of the engineering structures depending on
the features involved.
Early involvement of specialists within
the design team assists with developing cost-effective solutions in an
interactive way; for example the location and type of crossing facility for
animal movement (Box 3.6) and user safety; or the alignment over steeply sloping
land so as to minimise long distance views; or the need to acquire land in order
to implement mitigation measures outside the immediate confines of the
engineering structure or boundary fence line. Sometimes little scientific
information is available on the distribution or habitat requirements of a
particular species affected by the scheme. In such cases the precautionary
principle should apply.
Actions of the
client/developer can be driven by legislation and funding as well as advice from
the technical team and/or public pressure, neither of which the client need
accept. Traditionally, engineers have led the design and construction of
transport schemes, with some fine results. Today, the speed of development
pressures together with the multi-faceted and technical nature of schemes
demands specialist knowledge including that relating to environmental
considerations and legal requirements. Balanced mixed discipline teams assist in
this process, but ultimately it is the “client” who has overall control of
The client needs to
understand the basis for decisions and any legal requirements. Mutual
understanding between the client, engineer and the environmental specialists is
needed. For example, so that the engineer understands the broad ecological and
landscape objectives and constraints. Likewise, in order to make practical
rather than theoretical recommendations, the landscape or biological specialist
should have a pragmatic understanding of the nature and scale of large civil
engineering transport schemes, including the contractual process. An interactive
approach to design and management together with team meetings are advocated to
develop an understanding of requirements as well as keeping abreast of the range
of ongoing issues.
In a similar way at
the construction stage, a relationship needs to be developed between the
designer and the contractor to make certain that specified written environmental
objectives are correctly implemented on the ground. A culture of awareness is
required to ensure that the right
messages are passed through to the machine operators on the “cutting face”.
The application of environmental management for example ISO 14001, training and
workshops are ways of assisting in this process.
Box 3.5 General landscape and
biodiversity effects associated with the structural and user characteristics of
Horizontal and vertical alignment
influenced by safety/speed standards of user, e.g. steam v. high-speed train.
Land take affected by alignment.
Tunnels/ bridges have set clearance
Ancillary structures and equipment
including lighting, fencing, provision of drainage,
Construction activity dominated by
Cut across landscapes/habitats providing
linkages or fragmentation.
Potential to fragment habitats and
landscapes with associated wide-reaching implications.
Potential to disturb natural drainage
patterns and microclimate,
Embankments and cuttings available for
habitat creation and/or visual integration,
Land acquisition/ redistribution can
limit scope of mitigation measures.
Habitat destruction can result in wider
Linear conduits provide access for
goods/people/services as part of transport hierarchy.
Link centres of population or economic
May contain and/or encourage other
development resulting in changes in land use.
Structural characteristics influenced by
type of locomotive/ vehicle and this is subject to technological change.
Out-moded infrastructure such as
abandoned railways or canals may have associated wildlife/ historical/ amenity
value, including for recreation.
Air, water and soil/vegetation pollution
risk associated with users.
Maintenance programmes of verges
essential for users, but provide opportunities for enhancement of associated
In Estonia, until recently traffic has
not been a problem to animals. This has changed. An underpass was built on the
Tallinn to Tartu road but is not used, largely on account of insufficient study
of their movements.
In the United Kingdom, a proposed
motorway passed between two separate woodlands. A large roe deer population were
present in both woods and moved between them. Deer fencing was required along
the road and an underpass incorporating a small stream was identified as a
crossing point, however the original proposed dimensions would have been off
putting for use by roe deer. A change in embankment design enabled a more
suitable size of underpass with associated cost savings.
In the Netherlands, the dense transport network has partly caused the fragmentation of green spaces with associated detrimental effects to certain wildlife. In an attempt to reverse the process the government has established a policy of de-fragmentation covering existing and proposed sections of the network. Work has included the construction and enhancement of eco ducts (special animal crossings), and verge management. Monitoring is undertaken to check for the effectiveness of the measures.