Book review: Introduction to environmental impact assessment (fourth edition)

13th June 2012

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Introduction to environmental impact assessment (fourth edition)

John Glasson, Riki Therivel and Andrew Chadwick / Routledge / Paperback £32.99 / ISBN: 978–0–415–66470–7

When the fourth edition of this book landed on my desk, the names Glasson, Therivel and Chadwick immediately took me back to university and how the second edition was fundamental to developing my initial understanding of EIA.

Time has passed and I now regularly converse with the authors on developments and future directions in practice. However, that memory did make me wonder how many environment professionals, in the UK and internationally, owe a substantive part of their fundamental understanding of EIA to this book, or its predecessors – the first edition was published in 1994.

The opening chapters of the new version are dedicated to setting out the principles, origins and development of EIA, starting from the international perspective and then focusing on the UK.

Next, it discusses the EIA process, with information usefully interspersed with updated advice from the sector, including references to guidance in IEMA’s 2011 EIA report and a number of micro case studies.

Part three focuses on EIA practice and is where the most substantive updates are to be found. These chapters consider UK practice, covering the 2011 EIA Regulations and the implications from key pieces of case law. A series of case studies covers both EIA and strategic environmental assessment with a focus on energy and transport infrastructure.

The final section examines future prospects for EIA, including how to make it more effective, with advice on assessing climate change, health, equality, socioeconomic and cumulative effects.

This book is clearly more than a simple “introduction” to EIA, and with each chapter closing with a series of questions – designed to enhance learning – it is clear that it will be of great value as a textbook.

Review by Josh Fothergill, IEMA policy and practice lead on EIA


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