Updated advice on non-technical summaries

31st May 2023

IEMA’s Impact Assessment Network is updating its advice note on non-technical summaries (NTS).

An NTS must convey the key findings of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) in a clear and concise format to allow the public to understand a development proposal and its likely significant effects. The updated advice note is designed to improve the quality of NTSs in EIA practice and follows on from IEMA’s eBrief Effective Non-Technical Summaries for Environmental Impact Assessment issued in January 2012.

The purpose of an NTS is to make the key issues and findings of the EIA report or environmental statement accessible and easy to understand for the general public. The public can be defined as any individual or group of individuals, organisation or political entity with an interest in the outcome of a decision. However, NTSs are also used as a quick guide to an EIA’s findings by other stakeholders, including decision-makers. One should keep this in mind when thinking about the length, content and style of your NTS.

The updated advice note will provide guidance on the following: Content – what should be included in an NTS; Key Skills & Competencies – the key skills required in the team preparing the NTS; Accessibility – how to ensure suitably non-technical language; Presentation – how an NTS should be structured and presented; and Digital Approach – how to make best use of online and digital approaches.

The updated advice note will be available in early summer.

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