An appropriate integration of transport infrastructure into the landscape contributes to minimise its effects on biodiversity and even to achieve ‘Net Gain’ for biodiversity. To meet this goal, spatial planning, including other land uses and anthropic pressures affecting biodiversity, need to be considered, as well as the ecological networks affected. An interdisciplinary approach is key in this process to ensure all relevant effects are evaluated. Applying this approach at Strategic Planning and Design phases, could provide the most successful outcomes (see Chapter 2 – Policy, strategy and planning and Chapter 3 – The mitigation hierarchy).
The identification of ecological networks should be considered at relevant scales depending on the specific project and life cycle phase. In any case, this will allow to define the Green Infrastructure for a given territory, contributing to identify conflict points and the most appropriate solution for each of them (see Chapter 5 – Solutions to mitigate impacts and benefit nature).
Social and economic concerns should also be considered to fully integrate the transport infrastructure into the landscape. Promoting the implementation of Nature-based Solutions contributes to this holistic approach, since they simultaneously address societal and environmental challenges. They contribute to achieve sustainable transport infrastructure, contributing to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Aïchi´s targets.
- The integration of transport infrastructure into the landscape must be undertaken applying an holistic approach, including environmental and land planning aspects, but also social and economic ones. Therefore, it is crucial to develop an interdisciplinary methodological approach.
- The ecological networks present in the landscape must be evaluated at the appropriate scale depending on the specific project and the phase of the life cycle it is on.
- Assessing ecosystems and ecological networks contributes to the identification of Green Infrastructure in the analysed landscape, which facilitates the implementation of appropriate solutions. Moreover it allows to identify the potential benefits ecosystems in the surrounding of the infrastructure as well as the services they provide to people.
- Favouring Nature-based Solutions contributes to achieve sustainable transport infrastructure.
- Infrastructure integration must be developed analysing different scales, at the landscape scale and also at local scale. At each scale different solutions and opportunities could be identified.
Actions to take
- Apply an interdisciplinary approach from the avoidance phase of the mitigation hierarchy. This should be applied from the Strategic Planning phase for new infrastructure, but also on upgrading and adaptation of existing infrastructure.
- Promote Nature-based Solutions over grey solution in order to achieve sustainable transport infrastructure that benefit nature (including biodiversity) as well as people.
Gaps of knowledge and future research
- Integrative solutions at landscape scale are still scarce and more information is needed to ensure a correct implementation and evaluation.