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

News

Decade Old India Shipping Summit Makes History

In ten years, India Shipping Summit held consistently in Mumbai, has sailed on a robust growth course despite the worldwide witnessing recessionary waves buffeting any endeavors to grow and gain.

USCG to Ensure Safety During World Series

The Coast Guard and local agencies are working to ensure the safety of boaters and baseball fans during World Series games at AT&T Park this weekend. The

Areva-Siemens Raises Claim Over Finnish Reactor Delays

The French-German consortium Areva-Siemens , the supplier of Finland's much-delayed Olkiluoto-3 nuclear reactor, has increased its claim against Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO),

Marine Science

ABB's 25th Year in Dubai

ABB Turbocharging is celebrating its 25th anniversary in UAE. Established in 1989 in Dubai, ABB has grown to become a fully-fledged service station capable

Ezra Bags $70m in Offshore Contracts

Ezra Holdings Limited, a leading contractor and provider of integrated offshore solutions to the oil and gas industry, today announced that the Group’s Subsea Services division,

New Oil Field Found in British North Sea

GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd and BP today announced a new exploration discovery in the UK Central North Sea. The discovery, which spans GDF SUEZ operated block 30/1f

Barges

FMT Orders Another Towboat from Eastern Shipbuilding

Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. is pleased to announce that Florida Marine Transporters, Inc. of Mandeville, LA exercised another additional 90’x32’x10’ “Canal

New Gate Transits the Panama Canal

The first gate for the new locks in the Pacific side began transit Wednesday morning through the Panama Canal, signaling another historic milestone in the progress of the Expansion Program.

Sunken Barge Salvage Stops Traffic on Chicago River

The U.S. Coast Guard said it is restricting vessel traffic on the Chicago River to allow for salvage of a sunken barge. All cargo has been removed from the sunken

Maritime Safety

USCG to Ensure Safety During World Series

The Coast Guard and local agencies are working to ensure the safety of boaters and baseball fans during World Series games at AT&T Park this weekend. The

Navy to Commission Submarine North Dakota

The Navy will commission its newest attack submarine North Dakota, during a ceremony Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, at Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.

UN: Ship Inspections near Somalia for Arms, Charcoal

The United Nations Security Council authorized the inspection of boats suspected of carrying illegal shipments of charcoal or weapons to and from Somalia on Friday,

Government Update

Navy to Commission Submarine North Dakota

The Navy will commission its newest attack submarine North Dakota, during a ceremony Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, at Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.

MARAD Seeks Comments on Proposed Policy for Deepwater Export Applications

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) is seeking comments on the agency’s proposed policy to accept, evaluate and process license applications for the construction

Oil Drillers Group to Fight U.S. Export Ban

More than a dozen U.S. oil producers have joined to lobby the federal government to reverse the 40-year-old ban on U.S. crude exports, a move that supporters hope

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | 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: 0.2457 sec (4 req/sec)