Guidance aims to fill EIA climate gaps

12th November 2015

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Related tags

  • Adaptation ,
  • Mitigation ,
  • Business & Industry ,
  • Built environment


Clare Taylor

IEMA has published guidance to help practitioners consider climate change impacts and adaptation in environmental impact assessments (EIAs).

The document has been produced in line with new EU regulations on EIA that require new assessments to identify the impacts of a proposed development on climate change.

It aims to help professionals assess the impacts of projects on climate, for example, through the generation of greenhouse gas emissions. It also outlines how to assess the projects' vulnerability to climate change, and how to explain how this has been achieved through the environmental statement.

The amended directive is due to be transposed in the UK by May 2017. EIA practitioners should use the guide to develop their knowledge and experience and feedback any lessons learned, IEMA said. A second edition of the guidance is planned for when the new regulations are implemented in the UK in 2017.

IEMA has produced the guidance ahead of the directive being transposed in the UK so that developers understand the new requirements and can take them into account, particularly for major developments that will require approvals from 2017 as these will be going through the EIA process in the coming months.

Mott MacDonald led the guide's development. James Montgomery, divisional manager of environment at the consultancy, said: "Taking into account how proposed development will impact on an environment that is itself adapting to climate change is a challenging task that EIA practitioners are going to have to cope with in the future."

IEMA has also published new guidance on how to use EIA to influence project design so that the significance of environmental impacts can be reduced. The earlier the interaction between the EIA process and design process begins, the more likely it is that cost effective, positive outcomes will be achieved, the guidance states.

The document outlines how EIA can influence project design in various ways, such as through reviewing alternative development sites to avoid harming particular communities or biodiversity, specifying particular construction techniques or changing materials to reduce the volume of transport to the site.

Mary Fisher, board director responsible for EIA at LDA Design said: "Today's launch will ensure that EIA professionals are supported to encourage greater collaboration between design and assessment teams leading to development proposals which are better integrated with their environment and thus more likely to be consented."Mott MacDonald and LDA Design are both registered to IEMA's Qmark programme.

Josh Fothergill, IEMA's policy and engagement lead on EIA, said: "Speeding up the process and progress of developments is crucial to the economic recovery, yet without current guidance there is a very real risk of unintended consequences for communities and the environment, resulting in unnecessary delays."


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