Indicator Fact Sheet

Proximity of transport infrastructure to designated areas

Indicator Fact Sheet
Prod-ID: IND-228-en
  Also known as: TERM 007
This page was archived on 06 Nov 2013 with reason: Content not regularly updated

This indicator is no longer being regularly updated

Assessment made on  01 Jan 2002

Generic metadata



DPSIR: Pressure


Indicator codes
  • TERM 007

Policy issue:  Preserve biodiversity and protect designated nature areas

Key messages

  • Extension of infrastructure networks is increasing pressures on designated nature areas.


Key assessment

The designation of areas for nature protection is one of the longest-established and most common measures for the protection of biodiversity. The EU birds and habitats directives aim at protecting more than 10 % of the territory of the EU by 2010. In the EU, 1 089 of the 1 650 areas designated under the EU birds directive up to 1997 have at least one major transport infrastructure within 5 km of their centres, as have 270 out of the 430 Ramsar wetlands (designated up to 1998). For the seven ACs for which data are available, 57 Ramsar sites are designated, of which 41 have a major transport infrastructure in close proximity, and this despite the fact that infrastructure density in those countries is still relatively low. In the EU, roads constitute the largest pressure on Ramsar sites, while in the ACs it is railways. The development of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T), and its extension to the east, risks aggravating further the conflicts between infrastructure development and nature conservation. A study by BirdLife International found that 85 important bird areas (IBAs), corresponding to 21 % of all IBAs investigated, would be potentially affected by the eastward extension of the TEN-T. Road developments pose the greatest risk (affecting 52 sites), but a surprisingly high number of sites (34) would be in close proximity to waterways (BirdLife International, 2001). Implementation of the directive on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment could in future help to avoid conflicts between transport infrastructure planning and nature conservation.

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