Cycle networks in Natura 2000 sites: the environmental assessment of the regional cycling plan of Sardinia, Italy
Cycling is assuming a constantly increasing importance in the European society, as it provides recognised economic, environmental and health-related benefits. In the last three years, the Autonomous Region of Sardinia (Italy) identified the need to realise new cycling facilities, as part of regional strategic infrastructure, in order to promote sustainable development. Consistently, it recently approved the Regional Cycling Plan of Sardinia (RCPS), which establishes a regional network of cycle paths, with the aim to promote cycling mobility and a new type of sustainable tourism related to region’s environmental and cultural peculiarities. The RCPS has been subjected to Strategic Environmental Assessment, as required by the European Directive 2001/42/EC, in order to integrate environmental considerations in decision making during the plan elaboration process. Moreover, a specific ‘appropriate assessmen t’ has been carried out, as required by the European Directive 92/43/EEC, due to the fact that the Plan affects Natura 2000 sites. This work presents the methodology defined to conduct the appr opriate assessment of the RCPS, aiming to guarantee that the provisions of the Plan allow the preservation of the integrity of habitats and species of Community interest, while ensuring sustainability of human activities.