In nearly all its competence areas, the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism is answerable for soil on several counts in that soil is a resource relevant to a range of different disciplines – agriculture and forestry, the environment, water, tourism as well as energy and mining.
In themselves, the main drivers for soil use are favourable developments:
- favourable economic development, on the one hand,
- rapid population growth, on the other
An ever-smaller number of people live in ever larger apartments, the real estate sector is thriving, mobility is on the rise, as is energy consumption, infrastructure needs to be upgraded to keep up with the demands, etc. However, all of this needs space, as manifested in the use of new land.
Land take usually involves agriculturally used land, which jeopardises a country's domestic food supplies. Moreover, – which brings us to climate change – our rivers need sufficiently large retention areas; this is becoming ever more difficult to ensure on account of the progressive urban sprawl.
The Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism has implemented a good deal of awareness-building measures. At the Austrian Conference on Spatial Planning, which was held under the lead partnership of the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism,
- recommendations for a reduction in the use of land were approved politically and/or published, on the one hand,
- and the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism joined the Austrian spatial planning concept partnership "Strengthening town and city centres", on the other.
Also, in its implementation of the Master Plan for Rural Areas, the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism has been devoting particular attention to land take.