Biological and Landscape Strategy (1996) aims to halt the degradation of
landscape and biological diversity across the European region. Action Theme 2 of
the Strategy relates to the integration of landscape and biological diversity
into other sectors including transport. This Code of Practice is a contribution
to progress taking forward this Action Theme forward. The Code relates to linear
transport systems, comprising roads, railways and inland navigation along
waterways, such as canals and rivers. It aims to assist elected representatives,
decision makers, and practitioners as well as nature conservation bodies in the
understanding of the main issues and solutions associated with the planning,
design and use of linear transportation networks i.e. roads, railways and
inland navigation channels, in relation to the landscape and biological
diversity. Other modes of transport are outside the scope of this Code.
The Code consists of
three parts at different levels of detail:
- this summary
including the Code of Practice Pointers – provides the main recommendations of
the Code in an easily accessible form;
- the main text of
technical papers giving more detail and examples – provided the main source of
information for the Code. A summary of each paper is included with the main text
of the Code. The full versions are available separately.
The main text of the
Code provides background information on the existing and proposed extent of the
Strategic Pan-European transport network; and on the legal and policy background
to transport and landscape and biological diversity within a sustainable
pan-European Region, the linear transport network is characterised by areas of
growth and of consolidation. Both can result in significant adverse or
beneficial effects for landscape and biological diversity. Importantly the
effects of construction, and use of types linear transport systems extend beyond
the immediate confines of the scheme. Examples include land use changes and the
loss and fragmentation of habitats. Associated with construction the main
negative impact on the landscape and biological diversity arises from
differences in scale, land take and fragmentation.
The ongoing user
effects in particular relate to vehicle frequency and associated noise, air and
water pollution. User safety can be affected by wildlife crossing the road/
track. Levels of animal mortality resulting from collisions can significantly
affect populations of wildlife already under stress. Monotonous alignments and
roadside landscapes can induce sleep resulting in accidents.
Areas protected for
landscape and biological diversity are particularly vulnerable to transport
schemes and should be avoided. As such areas only protect a small proportion of
diversity the effects to the wider countryside should not be overlooked.
Transport planning and design should adopt an approach which seeks to avoid
impacts, where this is not possible, it should identify the best practical
mitigation options and as a last resort use compensation measures such as
translocation. With adequate planning, proposed and existing transport networks
may be able to incorporate positive measures for enhancing landscape and
The planning of
transport schemes is supported by legislation and conventions including for
protected areas landscapes, habitats and species. Strategic Environmental
Assessment provides an early overview of the implications of transport plans and
is required under the Espoo Convention and the subject of a draft European Union
Directive. Its application reduces the potential risk of transport
infrastructure conflicting with valued protected landscapes and habitats.
assessment is a legal requirement for the approval of the majority of major
transport schemes particularly in the European Union. Also, it is required by a
number of Conventions. Regardless of any legal obligations Environmental Impact
Assessment is recommended to aid decision-making in all transport schemes
including those supported by donors. The Environmental Impact Assessment
procedure should permeate every stage of the planning, design, construction and
maintenance of schemes to enable sound decisions to be made in the light of the
best information. This necessitates co-ordination across disciplines and an
understanding of the dynamic character of the landscape, habitats and species as
well as the design and user characteristics of the scheme itself. The attention
to detail is all-important.
construction and maintenance stages environmental management procedures
including monitoring assist with the successful incorporation of measures on the
ground to reduce adverse effects.
restricted by land acquisition, a number of opportunities for landscape and
wildlife enhancement are associated with the design and management of the soft
estate particularly in degraded landscapes and to provide connections with
networks such as the Pan-European Ecological Network.
The Code recognises that a number of principles are applicable across the transport sector, however in addition there are a number of significant differences between road, rail and waterways. Also, the application in detail will vary between states depending on the economy, landscape character, biological diversity and capacity. The Code of Practice Pointers presented below, are included in the main text in the section to which they relate. They have been subdivided under four headings: procedures affecting decision making including conservation, enhancement, knowledge and understanding. Project development and management, assessment, review and research. Inevitably there is a degree of overlap in their application between these headings.