Impacts of climate change on natural hazards and land use in the Saas and Zermatt Valleys (Switzerland)
- Institut de Géographie de I'Université de Fribourg/Geographisches Institut der Universität Freiburg. Pérolles. 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
Abstract. The aim of Swiss land use planning is to guarantee an expedient and economical use ofthe land and an orderly development of the country. Therefore. land use planning has to designate areas suitable for optimal economic development. The possiblility of climate change poses a special challenge for land use planners. This paper examines the implications of environmental change resulting from climate change and anticipates new zones of conflict between existing and future land uses in the Saas and Zermatt Valleys (Valais. Switzerland). Differences between the «reul-time» decisions of planners and the possible development of nsks and changes predicted by scientists are key factors examined in this paper. Furthermore, this paper investigates the legal implications of land use planning under conditions of climatic uncertainty. Particular emphasis is given lo the various ways natural dangers can be taken into account at the levels of the «cantonal» general plan, communal zoning plan and the issueing of building permits. Finally, this paper recommends the establishmenl of «buller areas» or zones of potential high risk as precautionary measures and Highlights the fundamental necessit) of risk communication for natural hazard control.