Inefficient land use is an adverse consequence of poorly managed land which undermines the sustainable growth objectives set by the Europe 2020 Strategy. As stated in the COM (2011) 571, decisions on land use are long-term commitments which are difficult or costly to reverse. These decisions are often taken without proper prior analysis of such impacts.
The EC has already formally introduced assessment procedures for the environmental impact of plans and projects, but a clear vision on the potential of these procedures with reference to land take is missing. Land take considerations are not formally included in Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). Whilst some MS and local authorities have attempted to integrate land take considerations within national assessment procedures, the result has often been the adoption of inconsistent approaches, which vary case by case.
Land take is not an adverse phenomenon in itself. There are situations in which it might be better to consume new land if the alternative is to further increase the density of a specific settlement to an extent that does not ensure optimal levels of green areas and ecosystem services for the inhabitants, and where infrastructure cannot be upgraded.
The Partnership identified that what is required is a mechanism for considering the impact of different urban planning alternatives on a land take, in order to support the selection of an approach which minimizes negative territorial and environmental impacts.
Considering the availability of the already existing procedures for assessing the environmental impact of plans and projects, this action addresses the issue of how to integrate and support existing procedures in order to make them more effective in reducing land take. Making the procedures more effective in this respect would contribute to ensuring liveable compactness and, at the same time, guaranteeing the introduction of NBS within the built environment.
The Partnership proposes to mainstream the consideration of land take issues into existing assessment procedures and in particular into the SEA at EU, national and local levels, in order to harmonize the ways that MS are considering land take in development and land use decisions. This harmonization and the clear inclusion of land take in the impact assessment procedures will help cities to better plan their land with liveable compactness in mind (for e.g. supporting different planning alternatives, i.e. new developments compensating the desealing of inner urban areas and the urban greening v.s higher city compactness vs. less densified urban areas). The final outcome of the action would be to achieve a clear and explicit reference to “land take” into the two aforementioned Directives and the associated guidelines and methodologies.
- Organizing a workshop with the DG ENV to discuss the way of better harmonizing the integration of land taken into the directive 2001/42/EC and Directive 2014/52/EU (Bologna- UNIBO, DG REGIO);
- Applying for the public consultation of the SEA Directive on Strategic Environmental Assessment (Q3 2018) to try to influence the directive contents by explicitly including land take (Bologna-UNIBO);
- Collect good practices at national, regional and municipal levels and support integration of land take into laws on those levels.
- Sustainable Use of Land and Nature-Based Solutions Partnership full Draft Action Plan
- Draft Action 2: FINANCING MODELS FOR BROWNFIELD DEVELOPMENT
- Draft Action 3: IDENTIFYING AND MANAGING UNDER-USED LAND
- Draft Action 4: INDICATORS OF LAND TAKE
- Draft Action 5: PROMOTING FUA COOPERATION AS A TOOL TO MITIGATE URBAN SPRAWL
- Draft Action 6: BETTER REGULATION TO BOOST NBS AT EUROPEAN, NATIONAL AND LOCAL LEVELS
- Draft Action 7.1: PREPARE AN NBS FUNDING GUIDE TO ASSIST CITIES IN ACCESSING FUNDING FOR NBS PROJECTS
- Draft Action 7.2: OVERCOMING THE BIAS FOR EXISTING SOLUTIONS THROUGH NBS FINANCIAL INCENTIVES MAINSTREAMING
- Draft Action 8: AWARENESS RAISING IN THE AREAS OF NBS AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF LAND (URBAN SPRAWL)
- Draft Action 9: AGREEING ON COMMON TARGETS AND INDICATORS FOR NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS, URBAN GREEN STRUCTURE, BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES IN CITIES