EIA practice update with IEMA's Josh Fothergill
IEMA is about to launch its impact assessment network. It will provide members with greater opportunity to engage with, influence and contribute to activity across impact assessment, beyond EIA, while QMark registrants will benefit by demonstrating delivery of their commitment to improving impact assessment practice beyond the current EIA articles, webinars and case studies. It will also provide more opportunities to improve practice through, for example, enhanced opportunities to collaborate with developers, planners, government representatives, contractors and lawyers among others./p>
IEMA’s 2014 memorandum of understanding with the Hong Kong Institute of EIA will begin to pay dividends in 2015 with events and joint activities scheduled through the year. IEMA and HKI EIA are hosting a series of webinars to share practice, including experiences of undertaking the EIA on Hong Kong’s major runway and high-speed rail projects. EIA practitioners from Hong Kong will visit London in April. An events programme is being developed with the south-east regional steering group and QMark registrants to ensure effective sharing and learning.
IEMA members and QMark registrants will continue to assist with the Scottish government’s project to streamline assessments as part of the reform of planning in Scotland. More information is available at lexisurl.com/iema53932. To monitor progress go to lexisurl.com/iema53933.
Forthcoming EIA webinars:
- 29 January – Offshore case studies.
- 26 February – Digital EIA.
- 26 March – GLVIA3: two years on.
Value of independent follow-up
An article in the January 2015 issue of the Environmental Impact Assessment Review examines the value of independent EIA follow-up reviewers. The researchers, from the School of Geo- and Spatial Sciences at the North-West University in South Africa, found independent verifiers add most value when, for example, they are involved with: screening EIA requirements of new projects; allocation of financial and human resources; checking legal compliance; influencing implementation; stakeholder engagement; and integration with self-responsibility programmes, such as environmental management systems.
Marine energy projects
EIAs to assess the ecological consequences of offshore and marine renewable energy installations is severely hampered because the legislation in place fails to ensure that the significance of impacts and cumulative effects are properly assessed, according to research in Frontiers in Marine Science. The study suggests that instead of trying to ascertain which particular developments are responsible for further polluting an already heavily degraded marine environment, emphasis should be placed on better strategic assessment.
Newt surveys and EIA
Experts at Environ warn in a new Quality Mark paper available at environmentalistonline.com about the potential risks from following the published great crested newt habitat suitability guidelines when carrying out an ecological site assessment for planning purposes or to inform an EIA. Specifically, they outline how surveys to find Great-crested newts could be mistakenly scoped out of further assessment at sites where the species is under-recorded or is located outside its published optimal range and habitat.
In June 2021, the UK’s governing Conservative Party lost a by-election in Chesham and Amersham, a seat it had held for 47 years. The principal reasons reported as the cause of this defeat were proposed planning reforms and the promotion of housebuilding on greenfield sites across the south of England.
As we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the EIA Quality Mark, IEMA can announce that, during the past 12 months, the scheme has undergone a thorough review of practice, including stakeholder consultation with registrants and assessors, in order to improve it.
The delivery of effective outcomes for the environment, communities and development is a team effort, and more so when it comes to consenting projects that undergo Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).