Guidebook on Including Land Take and Soil Properties in Impact Assessment Procedures
This Guidebook investigates the role of Strategic Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment procedures in highlighting the effects derived from land take and soil sealing processes at planning stage, so before the decisions are taken.
It provides a general overview of the current situation in different Member States concerning the adoption of these procedures for guiding the planning decisions to reduce and compensate land take and soil sealing, highlighting the potential of these tools for ensuring a liveable compactness.
It is addressed to local and managing authorities, policy-makers, and to institutions in charge of taking decisions on the possible applications of these procedures during the land use planning process.
Aim of the guidebookThe general aim of the Land Use and Nature Based Solutions Partnership, as declared in the Action Plan published in2018, is “to ensure the efficient and sustainable use of land and other natural resources to help create compact,liveable and inclusive European cities for everyone.This general aim is underpinned by two objectives:
1) to promote the livable compactness city model and
2) to mainstream and promote nature-based solutions as a tool to build sustainable, resilient and liveable urban spaces”. The Action Plan of the partnership foresees nine actions to tackle the issues of land take and urban sprawl and promote sustainable compactness of urban areas and nature-based solutions in them.As a first step toward achieving this general aim and the two consequent objectives in urban areas across Europe,Member States and their cities ought to secure the lowest possible amount of land taken and soil sealed by new developments. This can be done through effectively implemented impact assessment procedures of projects and plans from the standpoint of their effective capacity to limit, mitigate or compensate land taking and soil sealing.Furthermore, the elaboration of a systemic approach ensuring lesser land take and soil sealing in land use regulations and development decisions requires a more widespread and focused approach in this direction in Member States. This is possible to achieve through a clear inclusion into the Strategic Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment procedures the assessment of the effects derived from land take processes, as well as their evaluation at planning stage, thus before the decision are taken.Action 1 of the Action Plan of the partnership is meant to support the realisation of this goal. As explained in the Action Plan „The objective of Action 1, therefore, is to include land take in the Strategic Environmental Assessment at EU, national and local levels. To achieve this objective, a closer look on the effectiveness of existing legal measures aswell as operational procedures and instruments used by different government levels in EU countries to regulate the sustainable use of land is necessary.”