Implementation of strategic environmental assessment in the transport sector
This indicator is no longer being regularly updated
Assessment made on 01 Jan 2002
ClassificationTransport (Primary theme)
- TERM 038
Policy issue: Apply strategic environmental assessment to support decisions on transport policies, plans and programmes
Strategic environmental assessment is seen as particularly useful to help integrate environmental concerns at various policy and planning levels. The recently adopted SEA directive (2001/ 42/EC13) to be implemented by all Member States as of 2003 requires an environmental assessment of certain plans and programmes, including transport ones, prior to their adoption. The UNECE is developing a protocol on SEA. This would also require countries to establish mechanisms for SEA at various levels (UNECE, 2002).
Strategic environmental assessment of national transport plans is legally required in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland and the Slovak Republic. Latvia has an optional requirement for national transport plans and Lithuania plans one. Practical application of SEA of national transport plans has occurred in the Czech Republic, while Hungary, Poland and Slovenia have undertaken pilot projects.
In the EU, SEA legal provisions and application for transport are more advanced. Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden have an established history of SEA of transport, supported by legal requirements, while Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK are also moving towards systematic application of SEA (ERM, 2000).
Practical implementation also requires sufficient administrative capacity to perform an SEA, which is often lacking. Moreover, to be effective, the findings of SEAs should also be taken into account in decision-making, which is as yet rarely the case in the EU as well as in the ACs (IEEP, 2001).
Major international infrastructure programmes such as the TEN-T and TINA, have not yet been assessed at a strategic level. Following the requirements of the TEN-T 1996 guidelines, the Commission has developed methods and a manual for network and corridor assessments. The Commission has also proposed making SEA obligatory for the planned revisions of the TEN-T guidelines in 2003, but only when it concerns sensitive parts of the network (European Commission, 2001e). A working group has been established under the JEG to give the Commission guidance on how to apply SEA on future TEN-T planning.
The sustainable development strategy requests a sustainability impact assessment (including environmental, social and economic impacts) for all new major policies proposals. This will be implemented in the Commission, gradually from 2003 (European Commission, 2002h). A working group under the JEG is investigating methods for sustainability impact assessment in the transport sector.
Stakeholder involvement (including public participation) in the development of plans and policies, and in SEA procedures, is limited in the ACs (IEEP, 2001). Participation of nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) is mostly restricted to local decisionmaking. The capacity of NGOs in terms of staff and resources also varies significantly.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
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