Impact assessment network update

23rd November 2015

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  • Management ,
  • Built environment ,
  • Planning



The chair of IEMA's impact assessment steering group outlines future work.

Impact assessment has a long history in IEMA, going back to one of the original founding institutions, the Institute of Environmental Assessment (IEA). EIA within IEMA has come a long way since, with the widely adopted EIA Quality Mark (QMark) for organisations and the EIA Practitioner Register for individuals forming a strong community of practice.

Impact assessment (IA) practice is constantly changing and practitioners and organisations need to continually update their knowledge and practice to stay informed. New and amended regulations and legislation, case law, good practice, changing baselines, new research, social attitudes, species migration and international practice, to name but a few of the variables of which practitioners need to be aware of.

The QMark and Practitioner Register provide a benchmark for quality and are valuable tools for recognition of standards and expertise; however, they are not the pinnacle of practice. True innovation comes from individuals, teams and projects. To keep pace with the rate of change, and to better harness the wealth of experience in IEMA's membership, this year the institute renewed its impact assessment steering group to stimulate and lead the IA network, which is open to all members working in the field in industry, government, academia and QMark consultancies.

The steering group has several initiatives under way, looking at guidance and good practice for heritage, transport, health and scoping. Future plans include an improved webinar series for 2016, with discrete beginner, intermediate and expert webinars, along with a focus on proportionate assessment as well as preparing for climate change, resilience, health and alternatives under the new EIA Directive.

As chair of the group, I am passionate about tapping into the vast pool of talent and experience within the IA network, particularly the community of practice around the QMark and Practitioner Register, to deliver member-led initiatives to improve the application of impact assessment; share knowledge; and influence the development of policy and practice.


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