More detail in health impact assessment guidance

2nd February 2023


IEMA has published two new impact assessment guides: 'Effective Scoping of Human Health in Environmental Impact Assessment', and 'Determining Significance for Human Health in Environmental Impact Assessment'.

IEMA practitioners identified that existing guidance in these areas did not give sufficient detail for the consideration of health as part of an environmental impact assessment (EIA). The two new guides were developed by IEMA’s Impact Assessment – Health Working Group, which is comprised of leading EIA professionals and key stakeholders from public health organisations from England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The aim of the scoping guide is to enable those commissioning, conducting or reviewing an EIA to determine the relevant health issues. It focuses on clarifying the information to include in an applicant’s Scoping Report. It also supports public health stakeholders in engaging and responding. The new guidance provides a clear definition of what is within the scope of human health. This includes explaining the range of issues that can be relevant within an EIA, including health protection, health promotion and healthcare service considerations. Physical, mental and social dimensions of health are considered, as well as health inequalities. This holistic approach to health is fundamental to a public health understanding of how a project affects the environment.

The aim of the second guide is to explain what ‘significance’ means for ‘human health’ as an EIA topic. It explains how human health significance relates to the degree and context of changes in population health, including effects to vulnerable groups. This is explained with reference to public health evidence sources and consistent judgement criteria.

Visit bit.ly/EIA_guidance for further details and to download the guides

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