Talk Procedures for the Design of Roads in Harmony with Wildlife

‘Procedures for the Design of Roads in Harmony with Wildlife’ or ‘Harmony’ is a project that aims to develop sustainable solutions to road transport challenges that are in harmony with wildlife. This paper is divided into two main parts, covering the areas of (a) Environmental Legislation and Guidelines and (b) Procurement Practices. The project focuses on eight reference countries consisting of Ireland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria, Sweden and Denmark.

A review of Environmental Impact Assessment and Appropriate Assessment is carried out for the European reference countries. As part of this review a database of over 80 Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and AA reports is analysed to identify the similarities and differences between countries in the implementation of the duties required by EU Environmental Legislation. As well as comparing approaches between countries, an audit is carried out to identify the degree of implementation on a 5 point scale under the headings Screening; Scoping; Identification of Habitats; Impact Assessment Methodologies; Mitigation Measures and Monitoring. In relation to this audit, it is found that the degree of implementation under the headings considered varies greatly between countries. A general trend is seen that most countries appear to carry out little or no monitoring. Furthermore, the review shows that cumulative impacts are not suitably addressed in a significant proportion of the EIS’s examined. The EIA and AA guidelines of each country are also reviewed and best practice guidelines provided in a simple and easy-to-read format.

Additionally, this paper reviews project appraisal guidelines in the eight reference countries. The project appraisal process needs a set of tools to enable rational and sensible route choice decisions to be made that strike a balance between the requirement to protect wildlife and other factors such as economy, safety and societal objectives. The project appraisal methodologies used in the reference countries are compared and a project appraisal framework for use throughout Europe is developed based on the findings of this review. Environmental Protection is incorporated into a holistic project assessment process that balances competing demands.

Procurement methods for road construction projects vary widely, including for example: (a) traditional road owner designed and operated; (b) contractor designed but road owner maintained and (c) contractor designed and operated. Increasingly, clients strive for performance-based contracts instead of traditional contract forms. This paper reviews existing approaches to the procurement of road constructions, ecological mitigation measures and maintenance, mostly in the eight reference countries, via interviews with key persons in road/transport administrations. The interviews are also used to identify best-practice experience on the influence of the procurement method on the output delivered and the effectiveness of the service procured.

Road; environmental; legislation; impact; appropriate; assessment; procurement.