For EIA to be of value it must influence decision-making and lead to improved outcomes for the environment, community and developer alike. In many cases EIA influences the design of development proposals to avoid, or at least reduce, negative effects on the environment. However, some impacts cannot be ‘designed out’ and dedicated additional action is needed, in either the construction or operation phase, to either prevent environmental harm or generate improvement.
Action to reduce harm is known as mitigation and often becomes mandatory as part of the conditions attached to a consent. However, if mitigation is not clearly identifiable within the text of the Environmental Statement or it fails to meet standard requirements related to the wording of conditions then it may not be picked up and carried forward. Even where mitigation is conditioned it may not be delivered or prove to be ineffective at reducing the negative environmental effect. In order to confirm that mitigation is both delivered and effective there can be a need to undertake monitoring during implementation.