Ex-Ante Analysis of a Hypothetical International Road Construction Project in Poland
This case study uses equivalency analysis to identify and quantify environmental damage, remediation benefits and compensatory liabilities for the construction of a hypothetical international road in northeastern Poland. Habitat equivalency analysis (HEA) was used as an evaluative approach to comparing the potential environmental damages associated with two alternatives. Application of HEA on an ex-ante basis enabled us to compare the cost effectiveness of the two alternatives considering their relative future environmental damages. Under a simple base case, environmental damages for the proposed Route G alternative were somewhat greater than for the Route N alternative. When we considered potential wide-scale ecosystem damages using a probabilistic approach, however, environmental damages for Route G were considerably greater than for Route N. When this probabilistic approach was expanded further to consider the relative scarcity of the extremely rare alkaline fen habitat that could be lost, the cost of necessary remediation increased considerably to over €11 billion. This case study is an illustration of how equivalency analysis can be used to implement the Habitats, Environmental Impact Assessment, and Strategic Environmental Assessment Directives.
KeywordsHabitat equivalency analysis Alkaline fen habitat Habitats directive Infrastructure construction Poland
Dr. Aleksandra Sas-Bojarska, Gdańsk University, Poland Eng. Małgorzata Górska and Jarosław Krogulec, Polish Society for the Protection of Birds (OTOP), Warsaw, Poland, for expertise, advice, and support. Additional technical assistance and analysis for this case study was provided by Eng. Andrzej Kamocki, Faculty of Building and Environmental Engineering, Białystok Polytechnic, Poland; Łukasz Meina, The Polish Society for Protection of Birds (PTOP), Białystok, Poland; Dr Wiktor Kotowski, Department of Plant Ecology and Environmental Protection, Institute of Botany, University of Warsaw, Poland. Legal background analyses for the case study was provided by Sandy Luk, then at EPPAC Limited, Letchworth Garden City, United Kingdom. Biodiversity advice with regard to European Union nature conservation policy was provided Zbigniew Karpowicz, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), United Kingdom.
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