EIA would help transport networks adapt to climate change, EEA says

15th December 2014

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  • Adaptation ,
  • Business & Industry ,
  • Transport


Catherine Miller

Most EU countries have made little progress in adapting their transport systems to climate change, with lack of financial resources cited as a major barrier, finds the European Environment Agency (EEA).

In a report published yesterday, the agency says that adaptation policies remain under the responsibility of environmental authorities in most countries, with transport administrations playing an implementing role.

Action so far remains at the early stages of policymaking, such as raising awareness, research and vulnerability assessments, it says. Implementation has been relatively isolated, and often as a reaction to a weather-related disaster.

However, there is a large potential to integrate adaptation into regular transport planning and policies through environmental impact assessment (EIA) and strategic environmental assessment (SEA), the EEA argues.

Lack of financial resources was blamed as a “very significant barrier” to implementing adaptation in the transport sector by respondents to a survey carried out by the agency. Poor awareness and training were also cited as barriers, along with a lack of data.

Politicians tended to see adaptation as a long-term issue not requiring urgent action, according to some respondents.

The report states: “While measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport are being implemented and are relatively high on the policy agenda, adaptation to the unavoidable impacts registers relatively low awareness and is only at an early stage.

“It focuses on early, planning stages and less, so far, on implementation. Measures mostly follow a piecemeal and spontaneous approach, and are often organised autonomously by the different stakeholders.”


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