A landmark Policy Statement affirming the commitment of the International Road Federation (IRF) to the development of environmentally sustainable roads as an investment in the long term prosperity of both planet and society has been released.
Simultaneously launched in Geneva, Washington DC, New Delhi, Africa, Australia and New Zealand, the IRF Policy Statement on the Environment places in perspective the crucial contribution that may be made by safe and sustainable road infrastructure in the context of international efforts to attain key global development objectives. The Policy Statement is particularly timely in the light of growing recognition that economic development and transport are inextricably linked.
“In this respect,’ says Kiran Kapila, chairman of IRF Geneva, “roads may be viewed as the missing link in global development efforts. Indeed, it is being increasingly acknowledged that, without roads and the access they bring to vital trade and services, the UN Millennium Goals simply cannot be attained. Over the next decade, our sector has a crucial role to play at the forefront of efforts to ensure that industry responds responsibly and proactively to the new environmental and social challenges of our times.’
Through a straightforward and action-oriented Policy Statement, IRF members give formal expression to their backing for road policies and practice that:
- Safeguard the environment to the maximum extent possible;
- Mitigate any adverse effects through pro-active consideration of environmental issues at every stage of planning and implementation;
- Manage and use resources efficiently;
- Encourage and provide incentives for ongoing innovation, so as to continually promote better environmental performance.
The Policy Statement ‘˜walks the talk’ by committing to a comprehensive list of political, regulatory and fiscal recommendations.
“The ambition is challenging and far reaching,’ says Kapila. “IRF believes, however, that if widely adopted and wisely applied, these recommendations will prove that economic development and protection of the environment need not be irreconcilable goals – and that viable green road infrastructure is today a reality.
FleetWatch sent the Policy Statement to one of our local roads engineers for comment and the good news is that he reckons our local roads guys are already thinking along these lines.
“Our company, for example, is purchasing plant that is more environmentally friendly (fuel efficient) and we are currently developing a system that will measure an environmental footprint for each site – from start to finish.’
So it seems green roads are on the horizon.
Editor’s Note: The Policy Statement can be downloaded from the IRF’s website at www.irfnet.org.