CEEQUAL and EIA - mutually beneficial

10th April 2014

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  • Construction ,
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Stephanie Baldwin

Parsons Brinckerhoff's Ursula Stevenson looks at the relationship between CEEQUAL and environmental impact assessment (EIA) and how appying both can benefit a project

CEEQUAL is an industry leading sustainability awards scheme which can be applied to civil engineering, infrastructure, landscaping and the public realm projects. It was originally launched as the “civil engineering environmental quality and assessment awards scheme”.

Although CEEQUAL and EIA are different processes, they can be mutually beneficial. The EIA process can, for example, generate the documentary evidence needed for CEEQUAL scores and at the same time a CEEQUAL assessment can encourage best practice in EIA and improve the sustainability of the project.

CEEQUAL rewards project and contract teams in which clients, designers and contractors go beyond the required legal, environmental and social considerations to “achieve distinctive environmental and social performance in their work”. CEEQUAL uses a rating system to assess performance. Points are awarded at different stages of project development based on the evidence produced. The client is awarded points for management and specifications, designers and contractors are awarded points during the design and construction phases of a project.

An EIA applies to the design stage of project development. Documentation associated with an EIA, including the environmental statement (ES) can be used as evidence to score points under the scheme. Table 1 sets out where an EIA can provide evidence under each of the main CEEQUAL sections.

Table 1. CEEQUAL requirements and sources of evidence from an EIA

CEEQUAL section (Vol 5.1)

Source of evidence from EIA

Section 1 – project strategy

The need for the project, history and background, or project description, incorporating the principles of sustainable development.

The environmental statement, incorporating social and economic assessments.

Consideration is given to climate change impacts and adaptation, and use of materials and waste.

A draft construction environmental management plan.

Section 2 – project management

Identification of significant impacts.

A project environmental management plan or action plan.

Incorporation of whole-life operational and decommissioning considerations, including maintenance.

Section 3 – people and communities

Consideration of community, access, air quality and noise impacts, mitigation and monitoring during design and operation.

Records of consultation.

Section 4 – land use and landscape

Consideration of impacts, mitigation and monitoring for landscape and visual effects, contamination and flood risk during construction and operation.

Section 5 – historic environment

Consideration of impacts and mitigation on archaeology and built heritage.

Section 6 – ecology and biodiversity

Consideration of impacts, mitigation and monitoring of effects on flora, fauna and nature conservation.

Section 7 – water environment

Consideration of impacts, mitigation and monitoring of effects on water.

Section 8 – physical resource use and management

Consideration of sustainability impacts including use of materials, waste management, use of energy and water during construction, operation and decommissioning.

Section 9 – transport

Consideration of impacts, mitigation and monitoring of traffic effects, including consideration of alternative forms of transport during construction and operation.

It is important to remember that CEEQUAL is evidence based. If evidence cannot demonstrate sustainability best practice, then points cannot be awarded. It is important that the ES and any other EIA documentation clearly present the evidence required for the relevant CEEQUAL section. For example, CEEQUAL requires evidence during design that consideration has been given to the materials used, as well as their source, reuse and disassembly.

Environmental statements prepared by Parsons Brinckerhoff for CEEQUAL-registered road schemes have adapted the standard table format provided in the Highways Agency’s Design manual for roads and bridges (IAN 153/11). The table below shows how some of these considerations were incorporated:

Table 2: Example extracted from A30 Temple to Higher Carblake environmental statement -summary of materials resource use (based on Table A in IAN 153/11)

Material required

Estimated quantities

Recycled/ reused (%)

Likely source of material

Recyclable on decommissioning (%)

Site preparation: heras fencing

2,000 metres




Drainage: filter drain

8,550 metres

100–150mm clean stone 80%

Stores and quarry


Drainage: headwalls


Reclaimed local stone 80%, Re-bar 10%

Stores/ manufacturer/ locally sourced


Pavements: planings

810 tonnes


Stores/ site material


Pavements: 14mm aggregate (40mm thick)

7500 tonnes




CEEQUAL requirements also prompt designers and environmental specialists to consider a range of sustainability aspects. In the case above, for example, the team working on the EIA considered sustainability aspects of material usustainability aspects of material use at an earlier stage in the project. This could equally apply to consideration of other alternatives in design, such as transportation of materials, energy sources and efficiency.

Another important aspect of CEEQUAL which can benefit EIA is ensuring that commitments are effectively carried over to construction and operational phases of a project. Production of draft construction and project environmental management plans (CEMPs and PEMPs) alongside the EIA are a common mechanism to capture impacts, mitigation and monitoring requirements. These are then passed to developers, contractors and operators.

For example, on the Camborne-Pool-Redruth road scheme in Cornwall, environmental inspections during construction were specifically designed to capture mitigation and monitoring requirements from EIA. These included maintenance of temporary drainage systems and regular contamination testing. They were captured in the CEMP and site inspection form, which in turn provides the evidence for the CEEQUAL assessment.

Ursula Stevenson, MIEMA, is an REIA and CEEQUAL assessor at Parsons Brinckerhoff


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