The Landscape Programme presents Saarland’s planning on the topic of conservation. A total of 6 thematic 1:75,000 scale maps have also been prepared: their features are explained with a rationale in an extensive section of text. The Landscape Programme therefore fleshes out the targets and principles for conservation and landscape preservation enshrined in legislation for all of the territory in the state, setting out what is necessary for the protection, upkeep and development of natural habitats and landscapes.
The Landscape Programme acknowledges the goals of spatial planning, accounting for its principles and other requirements. However, the Programme is non-binding and is not intended to provide a set of do’s and don’ts regarding the natural world and landscapes for state planners, land-use planners, technical planners or users of nature and landscape facilities. Instead, the Programme is offered as a specimen plan that provides ideas for sustainable spatial development.
By engaging with the various competing forms of usage and their effects on the natural order and the surrounding landscape, the Programme enables all public-sector actors to actively plan and implement measures as part of their competencies that are capable of realising the objectives of conservation and landscape management. Equally, planning activities and measures that run counter to these goals can be rapidly identified and avoided where possible.
Justification should be given for occasions where the Landscape Programme guidance cannot be followed in corresponding decision-making. Accordingly, the Landscape Programme works to ensure that the various conservation issues that are affected are appreciated and appropriately weighted in the respective evaluations and decisions that are made (duty of consideration). One effect expected over the medium and long term is an increase in quality, in terms of a more considerate and sustainable interaction with nature and landscapes, even if – as noted – the Programme offers guidance rather than hard and fast rules.
One novel aspect of the Saarland Landscape Programme is the fact that it addresses the problem of landscape fragmentation by human transportation and public roads in particular. The Programme presents non-fragmented portions of landscape with a minimum area of 15 km² that should be protected from further fragmentation (Saarland Conservation Act (SNG), section 6). Overall, 23 such areas are mapped out, of which 11 lie fully within the territory of Saarland, while 12 extend over state borders into neighbouring regions.
In its concluding sectoral conservation section, the Landscape Programme then presents measures for the protection, upkeep and development of certain parts of natural habitats and landscapes. This part consists primarily of the presentation of protected areas, protected natural sites (both existing and planned), nature reserves and Natura 2000 areas – areas whose significance therefore ranges from supra-local to EU-wide. As goals for state planning in the State Development Plan (Environment), these are considered to be priority areas for conservation or the protection of open spaces, and should therefore be acknowledged by all other planning authorities.
The Saarland Landscape Programme as a conservation plan pursuant to SNG section 15 has the following structure:
Ministry for the Environment and Consumer Protection
Dept. D/3 Agriculture, Fishing and Environmental Education
Phone: +49 681 501-4755