Planning the future after Brexit

8th August 2016

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Business & Industry ,
  • Built environment ,
  • Planning ,
  • Management


Christina Petrides

EIA professionals will need to practice horizon scanning to identfy possible scenarios for clients.

The study of the future, through foresight studies or horizon scanning, for example, involves examining historic trends and data to produce forecasts and projections. Both the public and private sectors use such data for strategic planning, research, policy development and long-term planning.

Take the Future Energy Scenarios from the National Grid, which show how the energy landscape may look in 2050. Industry and the government will use the different scenarios to develop plans and policies. What does this have to do with environmental impact assessment? Quite a lot. EIA itself is a form of foresight study: practitioners study historic data, predict scenarios of what might happen if a particular development is built, and recommend interventions – either design changes or mitigation measures.

The uncertainty around Brexit and the future of environmental regulations requires EIA practitioners to use horizon scanning to identify potential scenarios on behalf of clients. What will happen with the implementation of the new EIA Directive? Will the existing laws be repealed, re-written or removed entirely? These are all different scenarios. Practitioners have the option to develop contingency plans to adapt to whatever the future brings or they can work actively to encourage particular scenarios to become reality.

The future is uncertain, but not fixed. We can influence the direction of the future by applying mitigation measures to increase the likelihood of a favourable outcome. We are used to doing this at the project level in EIA; now we need to take the same approach to developing design modifications to environmental and planning policy in the UK to ensure the eventual scenario does not result in a significant adverse impact on society and the environment.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

New guidance maps out journey to digital environmental assessment

IEMA’s Impact Assessment Network is delighted to have published A Roadmap to Digital Environmental Assessment.

2nd April 2024

Read more

Lisa Pool on how IEMA is shaping a sustainable future with impact assessment

27th November 2023

Read more

IEMA responded in September to the UK government’s consultation on the details of the operational reforms it is looking to make to the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) consenting process as put forward in the NSIP reform action plan (February 2023).

24th November 2023

Read more

Members of IEMA’s Impact Assessment Network Steering Group have published the 17th edition of the Impact Assessment Outlook Journal, which provides a series of thought pieces on the policy and practice of habitats regulations assessment (HRA).

26th September 2023

Read more

In July, we published the long-awaited update and replacement of one of IEMA’s first published impact assessment guidance documents from 1993, Guidelines for the Environmental Assessment of Road Traffic.

1st August 2023

Read more

Are we losing sight of its intended purpose and what does the future hold for EIA? Jo Beech, Tiziana Bartolini and Jessamy Funnell report.

15th June 2023

Read more

Luke Barrows and Alfie Byron-Grange look at the barriers to adoption of digital environmental impacts assessments

1st June 2023

Read more

Susan Evans and Helen North consider how Environmental Statements can be more accessible and understandable

1st June 2023

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close