Mitigating mountain hazards in Austria – legislation, risk transfer, and awareness building
Abstract. Embedded in the overall concept of integral risk management, mitigating mountain hazards is pillared by land use regulations, risk transfer, and information. In this paper aspects on legislation related to natural hazards in Austria are summarised, with a particular focus on spatial planning activities and hazard mapping, and possible adaptations focussing on enhanced resilience are outlined. Furthermore, the system of risk transfer is discussed, highlighting the importance of creating incentives for risk-aware behaviour, above all with respect to individual precaution and insurance solutions. Therefore, the issue of creating awareness through information is essential, which is presented subsequently. The study results in recommendations of how administrative units on different federal and local levels could increase the enforcement of regulations related to the minimisation of natural hazard risk. Moreover, the nexus to risk transfer mechanisms is provided, focusing on the current compensation system in Austria and some possible adjustments in order to provide economic incentives for (private) investments in mitigation measures, i.e. local structural protection. These incentives should be supported by delivering information on hazard and risk target-oriented to any stakeholder involved. Therefore, coping strategies have to be adjusted and the interaction between prevention and precaution has to be highlighted. The paper closes with recommendations of how these efforts could be achieved, with a particular focus on the situation in the Republic of Austria.