The funding of new road infrastructure projects with EU funds is highly controversial and only possible if various mitigating measures are implemented. In Slovenia one such project is the Third Development Axis, which will create another road transport link between the Austrian border in the north and the Croatian border in the south. Some legs of this larger project were included in the draft National Recovery and Resilience Plan but later removed. However, Slovenia’s OP under European cohesion policy includes again sections of the Third Development Axis. Despite the fact that the EIA for the specific road sections predicted an increase of GHG emissions due to the project, the do-no-significant-harm (DNSH) test was passed. For this, various mitigating measures were announced (reducing mobility needs, alternative fuel infrastructure, public transport, changes in legislation of commuter allowances, etc.). However, the mitigating measures are not very specific (how many charging stations, which public transport will be improved where, what will the reformed commuter allowance look like and when will it be reformed?), they are not an integral element of the OP, but can be dealt with elsewhere, and they can be replaced simply by building a local cycling link. In the end, a certain and siginficant impact on the environment is justified with uncertain and vague mitigating measures.
EUR 68 million (ERDF) for the specific road section, but the overall project is much larger and receives much national funding.
Do not mix mitigating measures into the DNSH analysis just to counterbalance the harm of an otherwise siginificantly harmful project. If, however, mitgiating measures are included in the scope of the DNSH analysis, they have to be integral part of the project, with clearly defined outputs, timelines and financing.
Information sourcesPublic cohesion policy documents