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Alpine nations step up joint research project

Switzerland and five other Alpine nations agreed Tuesday to set up a focussed research project that will assess the impact of increasing traffic on mountain regions, as well as the consequences of growing urbanisation in Alpine territories.

This content was published on October 12, 1999 - 17:46

Switzerland and five other Alpine nations agreed Tuesday to set up a focussed research project that will assess the impact of increasing traffic on mountain regions, as well as the consequences of growing urbanisation in Alpine territories.

Research scientists from France, Italy, Austria, Germany, Slovenia and Switzerland agreed to improve joint research efforts and announced the formation of the International Scientific Committee for Alpine Research.

The impact of transalpine road traffic on people and the environment will be key areas to be studied by the scientists.

Pro-environment groups, including some in Switzerland, have long maintained that the still increasing number of heavy trucks crossing the Alps on the crucial North-South trading route causes massive pollution and noise emissions harming both nature and people.

Such pro-environmental concerns have played an important role in the recent transport negotiations between Switzerland and the European Union, when discussions addressed the issue of how many trucks should be allowed to cross the Swiss Alps each year.

The growing urbanisation of mountain areas and the often uncertain economic future for mountain farmers will also be among the focus areas for the new research committee.

The scientists underlined the importance of involving local people and their experiences in their research.

The problems would be approached from various angles, researchers said, since nature, technology, economic aspects and local culture were often closely intertwined in Alpine regions.

From staff and wire reports.

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