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Latest research in environmental impact assessment.
Making sense of significance
In Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal journal, Megan Jones from Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, and Angus Morrison-Saunders from the research unit for environmental science and management at North-West University in South Africa examine impact significance in EIA. They say that, although determining impact significance lies at the heart of assessment, conflict and misunderstanding around the concept are common. The two academics developed a framework of four essential components of significance and tested these against the EIA approach used in Western Australia. The four components were: an operational framework for significance determination that applies throughout EIA; attention only on significant issues; the term significance to be specified and applied consistently; and significance determinations must be transparent to all stakeholders. They found Western Australia generally met all four, but identified some areas for improvement. These included the need for better guidance to encourage the adoption of a more consultative approach to determining relevant environmental factors and objectives, and to distinguish between terms used for significance in EIA documentation.
Assessing the impact of roads
A methodology for the ecological impact assessment of road projects is proposed in Environmental Impact Assessment Review. The approach, developed by researchers at Comenius University in Slovakia, consists of three stages: scoping of a buffer circumventing the proposed road to determine the area for impact prediction and evaluation; assessment of ecological resources, based on the importance of previous information and its vulnerability, to produce a map of the ecological impact zone; and impact assessment, which evaluates the significance of ecological impacts by applying specific criteria, such as duration, reversibility, magnitude, size and road ecological impact zone significance.
In Elliott-Smith v Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the claimant applied for judicial review of the legality of the defendants’ joint decision to create the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) as a substitute for UK participation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).
None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.
Global greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are projected to increase by 4% over the next 10 years, despite the carbon intensity of production declining. That is according to a new report from the UN food agency and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which forecasts that 80% of the increase will come from livestock.
Half of consumers worldwide now consider the sustainability of food and drink itself, not just its packaging, when buying, a survey of 14,000 shoppers across 18 countries has discovered. This suggests that their understanding of sustainability is evolving to include wellbeing and nutrition, with sustainable packaging now considered standard.
Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.
New jobs that help drive the UK towards net-zero emissions are set to offer salaries that are almost one-third higher than those in carbon-intensive industries, research suggests.
IEMA has today urged the UK government to focus on developing green skills and expertise across business, industry and civil society following the publication of an alarming report from the Climate Change Committee (CCC).