EIA update: November 2015

4th November 2015

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Christopher Luck

A round-up of the latest key developments in EIA.

Scoping opinion on stadium plans

The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham has sent consultancy AECOM its scoping opinion (bit.ly/1OnS1q4) for the demolition and redevelopment of Stamford Bridge, home of Premier League champions Chelsea.

The club wants to demolish the existing stadium in west London, which can hold just under 42,000 spectators, and replace it with one for 60,000. AECOM submitted its environmental statement scoping report in August and the council's 17-page reply includes consultation responses from the Environment Agency, Natural England and Transport for London.

Although the council describes the report as "generally sound and clear", it makes a number of recommendations, including that all potential environmental risks to part 2A receptors are examined, even if they are quickly discounted.

In its submission, the agency asks for surface water issues to be included in the EIA, and that the developers consult the lead local flood authorities, which in April took over responsibility from the agency for advising on surface water flood risk for major planning applications. Natural England, meanwhile, points out in its response that Stamford Bridge is next to two designated nature conservation sites. These are rail-side habitats for protected species and planned structures would lead to their loss, it says. The nature body wants surveys undertaken to establish the presence or absence of protected species.

The demolition and construction phases are expected to last four years. Stamford Bridge has been the home of Chelsea Football Club since 1905.

EIA practice update with IEMA's Josh Fothergill

30 years of the EIA Directive - IEMA and several members are attending a conference on 12-13 November hosted by the European Investment Bank, European commission and government of Luxembourg to celebrate 30 years of the EIA Directive. Ian Roach, from QMark registrant AECOM, will present on the role of environmental design and mitigation in screening.

DMRB review

IEMA and its members are helping to reshape the Design manual for roads and bridges for Highways England. QMark registrant WSP|Parsons Brinkerhoff is assisting with the review. Members, through the IA Network, have provided early input to volume 11, which relates to the environmental assessment process applied to major road schemes.

EIA and ESIA masterclass

On 3 November, nearly 150 practitioners attended IEMA's impact assessment conference, which included keynote speeches from representatives of the World Bank and Crossrail 2. IEMA thanks its conference partner Royal HaskoningDHV and all the day's sponsors and speakers. Next month's environmentalist will include a report.

Health in IA

The University of Liverpool, an IEMA for education member, staged a conference on the role of health in impact assessment practice on 8 October. The event was hosted by IEMA Fellow professor Thomas Fischer and helped to establish the new Health IA sub-group in the IEMA IA Network.


Members considering presenting at IAIA16 in Japan next year are reminded that papers must be submitted by 30 November. I will be leading a session on collaboration and capacity building to drive quality in IA.

EIA and climate change

Climate change in environmental impact assessment is the focus of the latest issue of Climate change business journal (bit.ly/1WQPbwH). It finds that the number of climate assessments in EIAs is growing, albeit slowly. The journal estimates that the overall revenue associated with GHGs and climate risk in EIAs is between $30 million and $40 million in the US and about twice that globally.

In Europe, the revised EU EIA Directive (2014/52/EU) requires greater scrutiny in assessments of climate change, among other issues.

Practitioners quoted in the journal believe the directive will help embed climate change in EIAs. Richard Halsey, associate director for sustainability at UK planning consultancy Turley, believes the directive will create the need for a service that is now generally optional. "It will be a requirement that people have to think about, as opposed to being something that some people address because of their project's location or public profile," he said.

The article also profiles UK-based consultancy Golder Associates, reporting that climate change is slowly becoming a more important aspect in its assessment work. The firm employs about 100 staff full-time on EIAs, supported by around 800 specialists.

Simon Aldrich, Golder's lead on infrastructure, predicts that assessing climate risks will become a more important feature of EIAs in areas where there is coastal strain, such as regions where conditions may change dramatically over the lifecycle of a project. Meanwhile, James Montgomery, director at Mott MacDonald, believes long-term climate change impacts on projects will have to be assessed. "The whole concept of the lifetime of a project is going to be more and more important in the EIA guidance," he says.

Montgomery is the lead author of IEMA's free EIA guide to climate change resilience and adaptation, which was launched at the institute's EIA and ESIA masterclass conference on 3 November.


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