Transport infrastructure planning in Europe
Head of Environmental Policy
Highways Agency, Temple Quay House,
2 The Square, Temple Quay
Bristol | BS1 6HA
Tel: +44 (0) 117 3728494
Fax: + 44 (0) 117 3728465
We have had six decades of post –war transport development in Europe and the associated environmental dimension has grown into a complex and challenging issue for all concerned.
The growing concern across Europe to halt biodiversity loss has inevitably highlighted the impact of transport networks not least its fragmentation effects.
All three linear surface networks – rail, road and water have had to address the need for accurate and relevant environmental impact assessment and associated good environmental design to achieve acceptability if planning consents are to be forthcoming.
In countries like Belgium, England and the Netherlands the intensity of land use and development poses the greatest challenge to transport network operators. New techniques have evolved to deal with the many environmental effects ranging from air quality to water. This challenge has been reinforced by the EU Directives and increasingly stringent national policies for protecting the natural environment.
The rising awareness of the impact of climate change is driving a need to both mitigate for its future impact by reducing the production of green house gases, whilst adapting to its effects by ensuring that transport infrastructure can cope with a myriad of climatic change effects. These include intense weather effects such as heavy precipitation, very high summer temperatures and periods of spring and summer drought.
The natural environment will be under ever greater pressure so it will become essential to find ways of minimising the effects of transport on habitats and species. Greater connectivity, reduced pollution and in time a reduced demand for transport will be needed.
The future will be characterised by the need for innovative solutions to transport provision accompanied by looking for opportunities to improve the environmental performance of existing railways, roads and waterways.