Delivering on EIA's promises post-consent

27th June 2013

For EIA to be of value it must influence decision-making and lead to improved outcomes for the environment, community and developer alike. In many cases EIA influences the design of development proposals to avoid, or at least reduce, negative effects on the environment. However, some impacts cannot be ‘designed out’ and dedicated additional action is needed, in either the construction or operation phase, to either prevent environmental harm or generate improvement.

Action to reduce harm is known as mitigation and often becomes mandatory as part of the conditions attached to a consent. However, if mitigation is not clearly identifiable within the text of the Environmental Statement or it fails to meet standard requirements related to the wording of conditions then it may not be picked up and carried forward. Even where mitigation is conditioned it may not be delivered or prove to be ineffective at reducing the negative environmental effect. In order to confirm that mitigation is both delivered and effective there can be a need to undertake monitoring during implementation.

Further to this, both the project’s detailed design and the developers understanding of the development site continue to evolve post-consent. As a result mitigation proposed in the EIA process may no longer be deliverable or appropriate. Consequently, simply conditioning environmental mitigation measures may not be sufficient to effectively manage a major development’s environmental effects, with a clear need to hand over environmental knowledge and responsibilities from those leading the EIA to the principal contractor and the environmental clerk of works.

Adam Boyden, of Nicholas Pearson Associates, and a second presenter, TBC, will explore the above issues in the June EIA Quality Mark webinar, including discussing the proposed changes to the EIA Directive that could lead to the mandatory monitoring of significant negative effects.

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