Conclusions to environmental statements

10th January 2014


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Author

Steve Downey

WYG's Adrian Rous offers his advice on how the conclusions to environmental statements can be improved

One area of environmental statements which WYG have identified as requiring improvement is the conclusion section. In my experience this section is often only thought about at the very end of a project and is little more than a rehash of the non-technical summary, rather than a useful conclusion of the environmental impact assessment (EIA).

The conclusion offers the opportunity to provide the reader with a single section detailing the findings of the EIA in terms of potentially significant environmental effects, appropriate mitigation measures and how these measures can be secured.

The text provided below may be used as a guide to producing more succinct and pertinent conclusions sections.

Example conclusion

The assessment of the proposed development presented within the environmental statement, has shown that if the identified additional mitigation is implemented during the design, construction and operational stages, it is considered that the identified significant effects can be appropriately mitigated and reduced to a level which is not considered to be significant. This is with the exception of effects on the site’s cultural heritage where compensation measures would need to be considered.

Detailed below are the conclusions of each section of the environmental statement, detailing the likely significant environmental effects, the proposed mitigation measures and a table summarising how these additional mitigation measures may be secured.

Traffic and transport

This environmental statement has assessed the effects of traffic and transport during both the construction and operation phases on:

  • severance;
  • driver delay;
  • pedestrian delay;
  • cyclist amenity;
  • fear and intimidation and
  • accidents and safety.

Given the mitigation measures detailed within the scheme design no significant effects have been identified and as such no additional mitigation is required.

Geology, soils and hydrogeology

It has been assessed that significant adverse environmental effects are likely to arise during construction to:

  • construction workers from potential deleterious material present within the made ground;
  • surrounding site users from dust generated during the remediation works; and
  • underlying groundwater from chemical/fuel leaks during construction

The additional mitigation measures required to mitigate these effects will be through a physical ground investigation and subsequent assessment, which will allow a remediation strategy to be developed and agreed with the local authority. In addition, should any additional health and safety or environmental controls be identified as being required during construction activities, then these will be included in the construction environmental management plan.

It is considered that these additional works will reduce the potential environmental effects associated with ground contamination to an acceptable non-significant level. These works may be secured through an appropriately worded planning condition.

In respect to potential operational effects it is considered that given the mitigation measures detailed in the scheme design no significant effects have been identified and as such no additional mitigation is required.

Cultural heritage

It has been assessed that the proposed development has the potential to damage or destroy buried archaeology during construction activities and adversely affect the setting of two listed buildings onsite during the operation of the development. Both of these effects are considered to be significant.

The additional mitigation that has been proposed to address these likely significant construction effects consists of further archaeological assessment within undeveloped parts of the site. This additional assessment is likely to take the form of a geophysical survey with subsequent trial trenching as required.

It is considered that these additional works will reduce the potential environmental effects associated with buried archaeology to an acceptable non-significant level. These works may be secured through an appropriately worded planning condition.

The completed (operational) development will impact upon the setting of the listed buildings onsite. While it has been assessed that the additional landscape planting close to these properties will lessen this effect it would still be assessed as being significant in EIA terms. It is therefore proposed to offer compensation measures in the form of an education package and display boards. The location and provision of these will be agreed with the local planning authority.

Summary of method for securing additional mitigation

Identified effect where additional mitigation (not design mitigation) has been identified

Type of additional mitigation measures (avoidance, reduction, compensation, enhancement)

Means by which mitigation measure may be secured

Traffic and transport

Construction

None required

Operation

None required

Geology, soils and hydrology

Construction

Additional site investigation and production of ground remediation strategy in agreement with local planning authority.

Avoid

Production of remediation strategy in consultation with local planning authority

Planning condition

Operation

None required

Cultural heritage

Construction

Effect on unidentified buried archaeology.

Reduce

Additional archaeological assessment (geophysical survey) prior to the start of development

Planning condition

Operation

Impact upon the setting of listed buildings within the development

Compensation

Potential for interpretation information or education packages within the completed development.

Planning condition


This article was submitted by WYG, a registrant on IEMA’s EIA Quality Mark scheme.

For more information about the article contact Adrian Rous, associate environmental consultant, at [email protected]

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