EU: New Inland Waterways Protection Guidelines

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Commission is issuing new guidelines on inland navigation and nature protection to assist this important sector in applying EU environmental legislation.

 

The guidelines – "Inland waterway transport and Natura 2000 – sustainable inland waterway development and management in the context of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives" – explain how best to ensure that activities related to inland navigation are compatible with EU environmental policy in general and nature legislation in particular. The document also emphasizes the significance of the inland navigation for securing long-term sustainability of EU transport network and highlights the achievements of this sector in integrating nature protection into its activities to date.

 

"Inland waterway transport plays an important role in the transportation of goods across many parts of Europe," said Vice-President and Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas. "This transport sector is considered to be safe, energy efficient and more environmentally friendly than other transport modes. But as it is one of many users of our rivers, it needs to be developed in an ecologically sustainable way." Janez Potočnik, Commissioner for Environment, hoped that the document will be "a useful tool to increase understanding between investors, planners, decision-makers and nature conservation promoters, enabling them to design sustainable navigation projects that meet the objectives of inland waterway transport while still respecting the ecological values of rivers."

 

The guidelines take a holistic approach to inland waterway transport and nature protection. They explain the policy context of inland navigation and biodiversity conservation in Europe. They stress that Natura 2000 sites are not designed to be ‘no development zones’ and that new developments are not excluded, provided that they guarantee a sufficient level of nature protection. The document also explains the legal obligations of infrastructure developers and managers from the point of EU environmental legislation, with a particular focus on the Birds and Habitats Directives. A number of case studies are presented, with examples of good practice showing how inland waterway development and management can go hand-in-hand with nature protection. The guidelines particularly emphasize the benefits of integrated planning, whereby environmental requirements are taken into consideration at every stage of infrastructure development process and the participation of different stakeholders, including NGOs and civil society, is ensured in an active and transparent manner, securing win-win solutions for both sectors.

 

This document is the fourth guidance document on application of EU nature legislation in the context of strategic EU sectors. Previously published guidelines concerned wind energy, non-energy mineral extraction industry and developments in ports and estuaries.

 

  • Background

Natura 2000 is a vast Europe-wide network where human activities coexist with nature protection. It now covers almost 18% of the EU's land surface and more than 145 000 km² of its seas. Activities such as farming, transport, infrastructure development, tourism, forestry and leisure pursuits can be carried out inside the network as long as they are sustainable and in compliance with the legislation on protecting the natural environment.

 

Biodiversity – the limited resource that is the variety of life on earth – is in crisis. Species are being lost at an unprecedented rate as a result of human activities, with irreversible consequences for our future. The European Union is combating this and recently set itself a new objective of halting biodiversity loss in Europe by 2020, protecting ecosystem services such as pollination (and restoring these services where they are degraded), and stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss. Natura 2000 is one of the main tools needed to reach that objective.

 

In an average year, around 140 billion ton-kilometres of transport work is performed on inland waterways, transporting around 500 million tons of cargo. The inland waterway network in the EU includes about 37.000 km inland waterways in 20 Member States; 12 Member States are directly interconnected through inland waterways. Although this represents only a modest percentage of the overall EU transport network and activity, it remains a formidable volume of freight transported over a network with a huge spare capacity capable to alleviate the busiest parts of the EU road and rail network.

 

The "Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system" sets the overall EU target to reduce transport related greenhouse gas emissions by 60% until 2050, while at the same time accommodating the expected increasing demand for mobility. It moreover recognises that this target can only be achieved if all modes of transport contribute to the best of their abilities to the sustainable, integrated transport system of the future.

 

Realising the potential of inland waterway transport is a vital part of the EU’s transport policy mix.

 

See also:

Guidance document on inland waterway transport and Natura 2000:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/natura2000/management/docs/IWT_BHD_Guidelines.pdf

Guidance documents for the Management of Natura 2000 sites:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/natura2000/management/guidance_en.htm

More information about recent policy developments in the inland waterway transport sector:

http://ec.europa.eu/transport/inland/promotion/doc/2012_0168_final_swd.pdf

Maritime Reporter March 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Environmental

Miami Tugboat Oil Spill: Coast Guard Respond

The US Coast Guard says that its crewmembers are responding to a fuel spill in the vicinity of Government Cut in Miami, following a leak discovered aboard the 95-foot tugboat 'Neptune'.

Shipowners to Become Liable for Costs of Wreck Removal

Shipowner liability is on the horizon as the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal Wrecks will enter into force on 14 April 2015 following the deposit,

California Port Seeks Public Feedback on Expansion Plans

The Port of San Diego apprises it is to host separate open house events for the public to provide feedback on its long-range vision and 'Integrated Port Master Plan Update' process.

News

KVH Precision Sensors for Geodetics' Inertial Navigation Systems

KVH Industries, Inc.,  a leading manufacturer of high performance fiber optic-based inertial sensors and gyros has entered into a strategic partnership with Geodetics Inc.

Search resumes for missing in S. Korean ferry disaster

South Korean coastguards and navy divers resumed their search on Thursday for nearly 280 people still missing after a ferry capsized in what could be the country's

POSH may raise $311 Mln in Singapore IPO

PACC Offshore Services Holdings (POSH) could raise at least S$388.27 million ($311 million) after pricing its initial public offering near the bottom of the pricing range indicated earlier,

Barges

Shipbuilding: Vigor Industrial Grows Stronger

Vigor Industrial has ballooned from a modest shipyard in Portland, Oregon, to the largest shipbuilder in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Vigor increasingly thinks big and builds big.

Tug on the Rocks, Lake Pontchartrain, Three Rescued

US Coast Guard 8th District says that it has rescued 3 crewmembers aboard the (uninspected) tugboat 'UTV Todd Michael' after it grounded on the rocks near the Lakefront Airport on Lake Pontchartrain.

Foss Meets Growing Modular Business with New Barge

Foss Maritime is building a new ocean-going barge that will give the company an additional asset to transport large modules both domestically and internationally.

Maritime Safety

Shipowners to Become Liable for Costs of Wreck Removal

Shipowner liability is on the horizon as the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal Wrecks will enter into force on 14 April 2015 following the deposit,

Coast Guard Pacific Area Command Changeover

The US Coast Guard informs that Rear Adm. Charles W. Ray will relieve Vice Adm. Paul F. Zukunft  (US Coast Guard Commander designate) as Commander, Coast Guard

KVH Precision Sensors for Geodetics' Inertial Navigation Systems

KVH Industries, Inc.,  a leading manufacturer of high performance fiber optic-based inertial sensors and gyros has entered into a strategic partnership with Geodetics Inc.

Government Update

Canada Opts Out of Arctic Council Meeting

Canadian Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq stated that a principled stand had been taken by Ottawa against Moscow's intervention in events in Ukraine, reports

Treadwell: Arctic Security Should Be National Priority

Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell delivered the keynote address yesterday at the Arctic Collaborative Workshop in Fairbanks. Treadwell discussed five reasons why

US Sens. Kaine and Reed Visit Newport News Shipbuilding

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) hosted U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) Tuesday for a tour of the company's Newport News Shipbuilding division.

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2691 sec (4 req/sec)