EIA update: September 2015

28th August 2015

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  • Management


Alasdair Wilson

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

IEMA is holding a EIA and ESIA masterclass on 3 November in London. As well as keynotes from representatives of the World Bank and Crossrail 2, there will be sessions on: understanding the implications of art.5(3) – the so-called “experts” requirement – of the EIA Directive; climate resilience, health, ecological and social IA; and future practice: ESIA (with the EBRD and Barclays) or proportionate assessment (National Grid and the Environment Agency).

IEMA is pleased to announce Royal Haskoning DHV as its partner for the conference. Its position in UK EIA practice and in enabling responsible finance through its ESIA work make Royal Haskoning DHV a perfect match for this year’s theme.

On the day, delegates will be able to learn from its expert practitioners in a masterclass on delivering effective EIA for DCO applications. To book your place go to lexisurl.com/iema107201.

IEMA’s impact assessment network

The IA network steering group has developed five new sub-groups. These cover the following topics and issues:

  • heritage – how to better link specialists, EIA coordinators and others to improve practice and avoid being overly led by process;
  • traffic – updating IEMA’s 1993 Traffic in EIA guidance;
  • health – to enhance knowledge and understanding before the EIA Directive comes into force;
  • scoping – production of a core
    guide followed by bespoke guides
    for all development classes in Schedule 2; and
  • ESIA – explore the need for a global framework on environmental and social competency between international finance institutions.

Contact network coordinator Peter Jones – [email protected] – if you want to get involved in any of these groups.

EIA research Mitigation framework

Researchers in the US have developed a framework to address what they say is the lack of a systematic and unified approach for integrating ecosystem services with biodiversity into the mitigation hierarchy. In a study in Environmental Impact Assessment Review, the authors claim their integrated framework allows regulators to determine potential, cumulative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services at a landscape, watershed or seascape scale and to assess the compatibility of development with environmental and social goals. According to the study, there needs to be a move away from area- and habitat-based assessment methods for both biodiversity and ecosystem services and towards functional assessments at landscape or seascape scales. Such comprehensive assessments more accurately reflect cumulative impacts and variation in environmental quality, as well as social needs, it says.


Effective SEA scoping

To support more effective scoping in strategic environmental assessment (SEA), researchers in Portugal have developed a framework to evaluate procedural effectiveness. It comprises a set of 21 criteria divided into six broad themes and was applied to 20 Portuguese SEA scoping reports through content analysis. The research found that mandatory issues were met and the scoping reports used mainly national guidelines. However, issues of public participation were often discarded and there is no evidence that scoping starts early in the decision-making process or, if it is, done concurrently. The researchers say the framework establishes best practice and can be adapted to different countries and planning systems to reflect their specific legal and institutional requirements. The study is published in Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal.



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