Environmental science

Organised in co-operation with the Regional Environmental Centre's (REC) Secretariat to the Sofia Initiative on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Course date

8 July - 19 July, 2002
Application deadline:
15 February, 2002
Course Director(s): 

Aleh Cherp

Department of Environmental Science and Policy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Jiri Dusik

Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe, Pilsen, Czech Republic
Course Faculty: 

Edward Bellinger

Enviromental Sciences and Policy, University of Manchester, United Kingdom

Andreas Kaefer

TRAFICO Partner for Traffic Planning, Vienna, Austria

Norman Lee

Enviromental Sciences and Policy, University of Manchester, United Kingdom

Urszula Rzeszot

Institute of Environmental Protection, Warsaw, Poland

Paul Tomlison

Transport Research Laboratory, Crowthorne-Berkshire, United Kingdom

The course covers environmental aspects of regional transport planning, primarily focusing on recent developments in a dynamic new field of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). SEA is an interactive process to incorporate environmental consideration into preparation and implementation of policies and other strategic activities. The recently adopted SEA Directive of the European Union and the International SEA Protocol to the Espoo Convention, likely to be signed in 2003, highlight the relevance of SEA to transitional countries.

The course aims to strengthen the knowledge of and practical skills in SEA, especially in relation to transportation activities, through

  • disseminating the state-of-the-art knowledge in this area and
  • generating new practical and regionally-relevant approaches to SEA of strategic transport decisions as presented in Transport Infrastructure Needs Assessment for CEE (TINA).

The course has the following specific objectives and expected outcomes:

  1. Providing continuing education to researchers, lecturers and professionals who deal with environmental assessment of transport plans in their everyday practice, teaching and studies, current SEA methodologies and state-of-the-art SA techniques and procedures will be presented; different approaches to SA and their relevance to the Eastern European context, especially in relation to upgrading the transport infrastructure will be discussed;
  2. Facilitating dissemination of new curricula in the field of SEA, for which a high demand is emerging in the region due to the introduction of several international binding SEA instruments (EU Directive, the forthcoming UNECE SEA Protocol, etc.) and the advance of national legislation and practice; new teaching methodologies based on analysis of real case-studies will be presented and tested;
  3. Further strengthening interactive networks of SEA professionals in CEE and the NIS; these networks are already functioning due to continuous efforts of the Sofia Initiative and the Network for Environmental Assessment in Countries in Transition whose Internet site is hosted by CEU since Summer Universities on EIA in 1996-1998.

The course will be organised jointly with the REC (Regional Environmental Centre) secretariat of the Sofia Initiative, a major inter-governmental effort on strengthening capacity for Environmental Assessment in Eastern Europe.

Course level and target audience

The course is designed primarily for those already familiar through their academic or professional career with Environmental Impact Assessment of strategic or project-level activities. Participants with background in environmental studies interested in environmental implications of transportation and transport planning are also welcome. The course will seek to offer an advanced, in-depth analysis of using SEA as a planning and policy-making tool for transport activities. The course will equally benefit SEA and EIA officials and professionals, university teachers and researchers in the related fields.

Course structure and content

The course will be a combination of distance learning (DL) and face-to-face activities.

The pre-course DL phase will run from May until July 2002. During this phase the participants will study the essentials of SEA, especially in relation to regional transport planning. They will receive a special introductory reader on SEA and background information on regional transport planning including a case study. They will be asked to complete one assignment on identification of environmentally significant activities and key impacts of the case-study. They will also be presented with a possibility to access additional materials on the Internet and to participate in an on-line forum.

The summer course itself will take place in Budapest in July 2002. This will include an intensive teaching component covering on different SEA elements (legal requirements, procedural arrangements, etc.) and techniques (scenario analysis, GIS, ecological impact assessment, etc.) The participants will also be familiarised with environmental impacts of transportation activities and the ways to mitigate these. A field trip to observe social, environmental and other impacts of different elements of transport infrastructure (motorways, railroads) and the effectiveness of mitigation measures will also be included in this phase. The lectures will be supplemented by group discussions focused on real-life cases of regional transport planning such as TINA (Transport Infrastructure Needs Assessment) for CEE. 

The organisers plan that the after the course its participants will become involved in the existing networks of SEA and EIA professionals, researchers and educators, in particular in the Sofia Initiative for EIA and in the Network for Environmental Assessment in Countries in Transition.