Authors: Prenger-Berninghoff, Kathrin
Title: The use of risk information in Strategic Environmental Assessment and spatial planning
Language (ISO): en
Abstract: Over the past decades, mountainous areas and river valleys in Europe have frequently experienced floods and landslides. In order to reduce negative impacts, society is required to implement risk prevention measures. Decisions on where and how to develop space can significantly influence the vulnerability towards disasters. Specific risk reduction strategies and measures can be implemented at regional and local scales through spatial planning decisions. The ability to make appropriate decisions on future land-uses is supported by the access to suitable risk-related information. Results of science-based risk assessments constitute an important source of information and evidence base in spatial planning practices, especially in the form of hazard or risk maps and plans. The question is how this information is transferred into legally binding decisions at the local planning level. This is where Strategic Environmental Assessment comes in. SEA is a well-established and already existing procedural framework which promotes risk assessment and management. When integrated into the SEA process, risk assessments can be considered together with other environmental concerns within the planning process. Despite the fact that a number of EU regulations for risk reduction provide and aim for a harmonisation of policies among EU Member States, risk reduction approaches still differ considerably in each country. Likewise, spatial planning systems develop in different political and social conditions, e.g. political systems, land ownership patterns and cultural contexts, and hence vary among European countries. Consequently, the ways in which sectoral policies formulate risk reduction strategies and the ways in which these are implemented by spatial planning authorities significantly differ across Europe. While some research projects have examined differences in risk assessment and management approaches, to date there is little clarity about what information or frameworks exactly spatial planners need to purposefully deal with risks. The main objectives consisted in developing an understanding about different ways in which risk information is used in SEA and spatial planning and investigating good ways of dealing with disaster risk. The concept for integrating disaster risk into SEA presented in this dissertation can be used to guide the consideration of risk information during the SEA procedure. Despite the variety of planning systems, and the multitude of socio-economic conditions, the developed concept should ultimately be applicable in all EU Member States. However, due to prevailing differences in assessing and managing risks it will serve different purposes and satisfy different needs. In countries that have separate legally binding hazard or risk reduction instruments, an integration of risk aspects into SEA will support a higher acceptance of the plan, provided a greater public involvement is enabled from the beginning of the planning process. Countries that integrate non-binding risk information into local land use plans and consider and balance risk-related concerns with other interests can make use of this concept to better inform decision-making processes.
Subject Headings: Strategic Environmental Assessment
Spatial planning
Disaster risk
Natural hazards
Risk assessment
Risk management
Subject Headings (RSWK): Raumplanung
Issue Date: 2016
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