Supporting the implementation of Green Infrastructure REF: 867

The EU Green Infrastructure Strategy adopted in May 2013 foresees a number of actions to be carried out under the lead of the European Commission in the following years. They include, for example, integrating green infrastructure (GI) into key policy areas, improving the knowledge base and encouraging innovation in relation to GI, and assessing opportunities for developing a trans-European GI network (TEN-G).

RPA’s input to this project covered Task 5, which includes all exploratory work related to the potential introduction of a Trans-European Network for Green Infrastructure (TEN-G).  This involved a first-phase assessment of costs and benefits of a potential TEN-G versus continuing the current GI policy and funding structures. The assessment focused on providing initial evidence on whether or not the costs of introducing and running a TEN-G would be outweighed by the expected economic, social and environmental benefits delivered via such a network.  The cost-benefit assessment focused on comparing the different proposed GI components in terms of what can deliver the greatest level of benefit if promoted under a Trans-European network structure.

Whilst the assessment process is high level and subject to a number of uncertainties, the findings indicate that a TEN-G has the potential to provide greater benefits per € invested than the current GI policy implementation and funding allocation (as described under the baseline scenario).  Considering only the top five ranked components in the assessment, the benefit-cost ratio (BCR) for TEN-G is more than double the BCR under the current funding allocation. If the goal is to maximise the BCR (as opposed to focusing on particular environmental or social priorities), then the top five priority components that could make up a TEN-G network are: Natura 2000 sites, Extensive agricultural landscapes, Regional and National parks, Multi-functional sustainable managed agricultural landscapes, and Wilderness zones. The ranking of priority components changes when the aim is to maximise the level of environmental or social benefits delivered.  The results therefore can be used for informing policy discussions and next steps with regards to developing a TEN-G framework, the most relevant ambition level, component focus, etc.