THE European Union (EU) has allocated €3m in funding to the Bison project, which was launched at the beginning of the year to reduce the impact that new transport infrastructure has on biodiversity.

The International Union of Railways (UIC) says there is an urgent need to make Europe’s rail infrastructure more sustainable for biodiversity while ensuring it is reliable and efficient.

UIC says Europe needs to adapt its existing infrastructure to new climatic conditions such as floods and droughts while finding innovative and sustainable solutions to reduce the impact of invasive species and address the decline of native species and ecosystem fragmentation. Simultaneously, the sharp rise in the development of new transport infrastructure, especially in Eastern Europe, must support economic development while paying particular attention to the local biodiversity, which is often endemic, UIC says.

In order to support and coordinate this action, the EU has provided €3m under the Horizon 2020 funding call to the Bison project, which was launched January 1.

The project is led by a consortium of 39 European members and associated countries, and aims to tackle the integration of biodiversity in the development of infrastructure, including roads, railways, waterways, airports, ports, and energy transport networks through specific objectives:

  • identify future research and innovation needs for a better integration of biodiversity with infrastructure
  • identify construction, maintenance and inspection methods and materials which are long-lasting and resilient and can be used by different transport modes to mitigate pressure on biodiversity
  • support EU Member States in fulfilling their international commitments by engaging all stakeholders into biodiversity mainstreaming for infrastructure planning and development, and
  • support Member States in becoming political leaders through collaboration and support of European research.