IEMA launches new 'Roadmap to Digital Environmental Assessment' guidance to help IEMA’s members on their journey towards digital environmental assessment by using the IEMA digital maturity matrix to establish their current level of digital maturity, and guide them towards appropriate next steps in their digital evolution.

As the number and depth of environmental assessments has improved over time, the resulting length and complexity of reports has, arguably, become a barrier to stakeholder engagement; prolonging consultation periods and, in some cases, providing a negative user experience. There is a need for robust assessments that are proportionate and accessible. The use of digital tools has been proposed on multiple occasions to help both expedite and simplify the process of environmental assessment at all stages and, most importantly, improve accessibility and stakeholder engagement. For example, embracing digital approaches was one of the four key recommendations from IEMA’s Proportionate EIA Strategy, published in 2017.

The growing consensus between planning and impact assessment professionals is that better use of digital tools and smarter use of data could make it easier to share information, avoid inefficiencies such as duplication and facilitate more effective monitoring. This may further reduce environmental and social risk and lead to better environmental outcomes. Therefore, a roadmap for the use of digital tools in the process of environmental assessment has been produced. It is based on a number of desirable outcomes, rather than specific methodology, in order that it can remain flexible enough to take into account the constantly shifting digital landscape and availability of tools.

The Roadmap to Digital Environmental Assessment has been developed by practicing Impact Assessment professions drawn from IEMA’s Impact Assessment Network. The group have used a wide range of experience from different organisations and specialisms to provide a useful practitioners roadmap to digital environmental assessment.

We hope you enjoy the roadmap and look forward to sharing more with you in the upcoming webinar (watch this space).

IEMA member can download their copy here

Non-IEMA members can purchase the document here (within 'EIA Guidance')


Ella Niehorster – Principal Environmental Scientist

Ella is a Principal EIA Coordinator at Binnies UK who has a keen interest in how digital advancements can improve the EIA process, and result in improved environmental outcomes. She has had experience of a wide range of projects from large development consent orders to small permitted development projects. Ella is always trying to work out the most efficient way to complete a task. This approach led to her role as Co-Chair of IEMA’s Digital Working Group, and to her advising on digital EIA approaches on various projects

Emma Jenkins – Associate Environmental Consultant

Emma is an Associate with over seven years’ experience. As part of the Environmental Management and Assessments team at WSP UK, Emma is Digital Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Lead. This role involves developing digital capabilities of environmental assessments. Emma is the co-chair for the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) Digital Impact Assessment Working Group. Her work on this group includes co-authoring the Roadmap to Digital Environmental Assessment.

Photo of Rufus howard
Rufus Howard

Policy and Engagement Lead at IEMA, IEMA

Dr Howard is the policy and engagement lead for Impact Assessment at IEMA and a leading professional in EIA, with two decades of international experience across renewable energy and major infrastructure.


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