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The Pan-European Biological and Landscape Strategy

  The Pan-European Biological and Landscape Strategy is an initiative developed in response to the Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCED 1992). The Strategy aims to halt the degradation of landscape and biological diversity in Europe through the encouragement of the conservation and sustainable use of the natural environment.

 

The initiative was endorsed by the Ministerial Conference in Sofia in 1995. It is co-ordinated by the Council of Europe and runs for a 20-year period from 1996-2016. The Strategy has a joint secretariat provided by the Council of Europe and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It is part of the European implementation of the Convention on the Biological Diversity.

 

Within the Strategy biological and landscape diversity are defined as follows;

 

- Biological Diversity; the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems (Article 2 of the Convention Biological Diversity).

 

- Landscape Diversity; the formal expression of the numerous relations existing in a given period between the individual or a society and a topographically defined territory, the appearance of which is a result of the action, over time, of natural and human factors and a combination of both (Council of Europe Recommendations on the Integrated Conservation of  Cultural Landscape Areas as part of Landscape Policies). (Council of Europe (1996) No. R (95) 9).

 

The Strategy sets out ten Principles for action:

 

- careful decision making,

- avoidance,

- precaution,

- translocation,

- ecological compensation,

- ecological integrity,

- restoration and (re)creation,

- best available technology and best environmental practice,

- polluter pays,

- public participation and public access to information.

 

"To achieve wise management of biological and landscape diversity it requires the application of these principles through all sectors using natural resources including transport."

(Council of Europe 1996).

 

The Strategy comprises a series of five-year action plans, that for the period 1996-2001 relates to 12 action themes. Theme 2 considers the integration of biological and landscape diversity into a number of socio-economic sectors, one of which is transport, the subject of this Code of Practice. The action theme requires each sector to be examined with respect to the positive and negative implications for landscape and biological diversity.

 

The Strategy attempts to build on existing legal instruments and considers landscape and biological diversity in relation to socio-economic factors. With respect to transport the Strategy seeks to:

 

"Integrate biological and landscape diversity considerations into transport policies and infrastructure development, avoiding areas of high value as much as possible, prevent or mitigate negative impacts of infrastructure works and transportation activities on landscapes and ecosystems."

(Council of Europe 1996)

 

Scope of the Code

 

For the purpose of this Code of Practice transport includes existing and proposed linear transport comprising roads, railways and inland navigable waterways along rivers and canals. It concentrates on major transport infrastructure although many of the principles are applicable also to minor facilities such as byways or narrow gauge railways. To avoid repetition the Code identifies a number of similar features associated with the three types. It illustrates the differences between the types by way of comparison.

 

Transport terminals such as harbours, stations and airports are omitted from the Code as are marine shipping and aviation. Also, a number of indirect impacts of transport are outside the scope of this Code including the use of fuel, aggregate quarrying, improved access to remote areas, the increase in development potential and land compensation. These omissions are designed to enable the Code to focus on certain transport issues and do not reflect  their environmental effects which can be far ranging.

 

The pan-European region covers an extensive area comprising a physically and culturally diverse landscape. This Code recognises the major differences in approach between countries reflecting the development of the transport network and the economy as well as natural characteristics such as the scale of the landscape and types of habitat. Thus, a number of recommendations of the Code apply throughout the Pan-European region, but the application of certain details will differ between countries depending on the economy, landscape, biological diversity and traffic flow capacity.

 
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