The water environment is at the forefront of people’s consciousness more than ever before. Pollution incidents are regularly reported in the media with powerful images shown of sewage releases onto beaches and public bathing areas. High-profile campaigners such as former punk rocker Fergal Sharkey are successfully raising awareness of the issues:
"Just 14% of our rivers are in good ecological condition and, unless there is a serious intervention, by 2027 that number will have dropped to just 6%. We have basically been destroying every single river in the country" – Feargal Sharkey
This volume of the Impact Assessment Outlook Journal examines the role that Impact Assessment professionals play in achieving positive outcomes for the water environment. Rhodri Thomas explores how the integration of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Water Framework Directive (WFD) compliance assessments can deliver enhancements for the water environment in urban settings, creating added value for developers and the public. Meanwhile, Matthew Brennan and Beccy Wilson review the implications of climate change on future water quality; considering current practice for assessing these effects and whether it could be improved in line with assessments of flood risk.
Jacqueline Fookes explores how Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) can be used to deliver Water Resource Management Plans (WRMP) that adhere to regulatory compliance and take into account changes to population growth, climate change and emerging technologies.
The challenges faced in meeting the requirements of environmental permits and consents are set out by Lorna Indriks. This article emphasises the crucial role of collaboration in addressing these challenges to achieve positive environmental outcomes that extend beyond just permit compliance.
Etisang Abraham reviews the implications of nutrient neutrality for developers and the recent government attempt to jettison the nutrient neutrality rules by proposing an amendment to the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill (LURB).
Edward Walker outlines the opportunities presented by the waters around the UK in supporting the growth of renewable and low-carbon energy, and our transition to Net Zero. With a focus on the north-east of England, he sets out the challenges posed by delivering development at coastal locations.
Elspeth McIntyre presents a new collaborative initiative, the Offshore Wind Evidence and Knowledge Hub (OWEKH), which seeks to improve the consenting process for offshore wind projects by facilitating a valuable knowledge transfer for professionals and stakeholders. The OWEKH Hub will launch in autumn 2023.
Finally, Spencer McGawley puts a positive spin on the future of water impact assessment by discussing the dawn of Impact Positive Design in the water industry.
The authors featured in this Volume have all presented new ideas and critical thinking that could be demonstrative of a ‘punk ethos’ that even Feargal Sharkey would be impressed by. I hope you will find this Volume to be insightful and will think about the issues raised in your work going forward.
Download a copy of the Outlook Journal here.
If you are interested in being involved in the IEMA Impact Assessment Network or joining an IA Working Group, IEMA members can email [email protected] to express an interest in joining a group.
Please note: the views expressed in this blog are those of the individual contributing member and are not necessarily representative of the views of IEMA or any professional institutions with which IEMA is associated.
Posted on 6th November 2023
Written by Lewis Jenkins, PIEMA
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