Handbook: Territorial Impact Assessment

A practical guidance for policymakers and practitioners based on contributions from ESPON projects and the European Commission

It has long been recognised that sector policies have territorial impacts. Such territorial impacts, positive and negative, are often unintended or even unknown. There is a long standing demand, from policymakers and practitioners involved in territorial development to run quick, easy-to-use processes to provide a first indication of territorial impacts. This can support efforts to minimise negative policy outcomes and maximise territorial potentials.

Better availability of data and tools now makes such an approach possible. Two tried-and-tested tools for assessing territorial impacts from the ESPON Programme and operational guidance from the European Commission are ready to meet this demand and are included in this booklet:

  • A national and sub-national level ‘Framework for Assessing Territorial Impacts of European Directives’ providing national governments with an ex-ante procedure to assess the territorial impacts of EU directives.
  • Operational guidance on to how to assess regional and local impacts within the European Commission’s Impact Assessment System presented from the Commission Staff Working Document, partly inspired by ESPON results.
  • A European level TIA ‘Quick check’ tool aimed at European-level policymakers and practitioners which ex-ante analyses the impact of EU policies and directives.

The ESPON Programme has continually strived to bridge the gap between scientific theory and evidence and the pressures of practical policy application. In June 2012, an ESPON workshop on assessing territorial impacts in Brussels collected the views of policy makers and practitioners. The workshop included representatives from the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions. The general conclusion was that substantial progress has been achieved in assessing territorial impacts by different stakeholders at all administrative levels. This has allowed a better integration of territorial concerns into policy-making to secure effective and efficient outcomes. The crisis has only reinforced the need for efficiency.

 ESPON projects ARTS and EATIA made important contributions to the progress of territorial impact assessments. They successfully bridged the gap between science and policy practice to provide useful tools for assessing territorial impacts.

For more information visit ESPON webiste.

The document in PDF file is available here.