Environmental NGOs have expressed worries that the Trans-European Network for Transport (TEN-T) might be extended to the accession countries without any previous assessment of the ecological consequences.
The inclusion of the transport network components proposed in the final TINA report into the draft Accession Treaty has prompted environmental NGOs to warn that the TEN-T could be extended to the accession countries without previous assessment of their ecological impact.
The NGOs demand that the extension of the networks be done in full compliance with the EU’s environmental acquis. More specifically, this concerns three pieces of legislation, where conflicts are expected to arise.
- Natura 2000 (Birds- and Habitats Directives)
The NGOs have evidence that some of the proposed routes will affect sites that will certainly be proposed under the EU’s network of protected areas. The candidate countries will be granted a delay until May 2004 to identify these areas.
- Water Framework Directive
Some of the listed projects for inland waterways will not comply with the obligations regarding good ecological water status. These obligations have been worked out in collaboration with the candidate countries, none of them has been given a transitional period in this field.
- Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive
Even though the SEA Directive will not enter into force before June 2004, Member States have been requested to apply its principles as early as possible. For Community projects, assessments will be carried out at EU level. Therefore, the NGOs call on the Commission to provide Strategic Environmental Assessments of the whole transport network before plans are finalised.