Natural England - Transport


Transport (by which we mean, roads and road transport, public transport – buses, trams, railways, and light rapid transit - airports, canals, inland waterways and water transport, shipping and ports, and cycling and walking) creates both opportunities and challenges for the natural environment.

Local bus in Malham Village

Rural bus service

What opportunities and challenges does transport pose for the natural environment?

Transport trends show an increasing demand for road and air transport, whilst levels of walking and cycling and bus use are declining. These trends can affect the natural environment, and people's experience of it, in three key areas:

  • Biodiversity, landscape,geodiversity - through direct and indirect impacts from land-take and traffic, but also through opportunities to protect and enhance biodiversity and landscape, for example through innovative verge management and the sympathetic design and location of infrastructure.

  • Climate change and energy - through greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental challenges posed by biofuels.

  • Quality of life - through people's access to and experience of the natural environment, and through the links between walking, cycling, health and well-being.

How is Natural England involved in transport?

Natural England is a statutory consultee for:

  • major transport schemes (such as roads, rail, port and airport expansion);

  • Environmental Impact Assessments of transport schemes; and the

  • Strategic Environmental Assessment/Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessment of Local Transport Plans.

Natural England is also working to address its own business travel and how visitors access our National Nature Reserves.

Guidance and publications