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Risk Assessment Natura 2000

What is at issue?

For a number of years now, different road alternatives have been discussed in the Lower Rhein Valley in the Austrian province of Vorarlberg, with the aim of reducing the burden of transit traffic in the region. One project alternative was shelved 20 years ago due to difficulties with European legislation on nature conservation. Now it is a question of finding project alternatives with minimal risk regarding conflicts with conservation legislation.

What is the benefit?

So-called "risk assessments" conducted at an early stage of the project are useful particularly for large projects, because potential sources of conflict can be identified in good time, usually allowing for the development of cost-effective solutions or alternatives.

What do we do?

In Vorarlberg we investigated the risk of a planned motorway section in the vicinity of several NATURA 2000 sites with respect to the European nature conservation directives for our client, ASFINAG, Austria's main public road construction and management company. The procedural risk was surveyed for two alternative routes. One runs through a tunnel under a Natura 2000 site, the other runs around the site, but is significantly longer. Our investigations indicated that both alternatives would create substantial impact, which could however be managed properly by compensatory measures. Our recommendation to the client was to prepare the corresponding road construction project for both alternatives and to create an Environmental Impact Statement.

The project was completed in 2015.

«Thanks to the risk assessment we achieved a real breakthrough.»

Kurt Fischer, Mayor of Lustenau

This could interest you

How the procedural risk related to nature conservation can be assessed for a large-scale project; Why conducting a risk assessment is worth it both for nature conservation and for the project applicant.

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