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Flashcards in Quality in EIA Deck (21):

Criticisms of EIA

slows development process

too expensive 0.01-1% of capital cost, impact management plan may add from 1-15 % to the capital cost

still isn't based on evidence or good science

doesn't help to achieve SD- mitigation just 'bug' consent

policy projects will go ahead anyway with permission from SoS i.e. HS2


Good things about EIA

involved the public

consider alternatives

Environmentally damaging developments can be improved or halted

preventing environmental damage save money improves health, manages resources better etc. not always easily accounted for

does provide systematise framework for all major developments to be scrutinised in public via production of an ES

same ideas can be applied to policy SEA

191 countries out of 193 have some form of EIA


Bigger picture

precautionary principle
ecological limits
intra and inter generational quit
partnership and participation
accountability and transparency
strategic issues and cumulative effects


ES and quality

high quality ES--> informed decision making and condition setting

Low quality ES--> lack of quality technical input to the decision making process


Key phrases in EIA

scoping- become accepted as good practice by is still not always formally carried out.

determination of significance- mostly difficult subjective and still developing as a discipline with EIA. effective= findings should feed back into the project plan and inform mitigation and monitoring

review of envt statements- quality control, esp if takes place port to decision. Carried out by LPA and stat consultees

follow up and monitoring


Netherlands experience

set up to conduct stat reviews of all ES by Netherlands commission for EIA (NCEA)

all reports made public

reviews quality and adequacy for decision making

notes concerns raised by public during EIA

no value judgement on the project itself

could ask for revisions, additional data or could make changed inself if requested by government

initially = national review
changed to international review body- building capacity, providing support

role linked to work in developing countries, supporting prep of guidelines
review EIAs of controversial and complex projects only
SEA on regional plans and programmes- national development plans and poverty reduction strategies


- i.e. NCEA requested to review EIA- cartagena port access canal, Columbian govt (through tropical coral reef and mangrove ecosystem)

expected impacts: removal of vegetation (incl mangroves)

removal and transplantation of coral reefs

sediment dispersion in the cartagena bay, potentially affecting marine ecosystems

tourism and fisheries

change of coastal geomorphology


Recommendations (NCEA cartagena port)

compliance with legislation and regulation

incomplete elements

hydraulic modelling may be flawed

EIA report was not presented un such a way that facilitates decision making - partly too detailed, sometimes irrelevant

monitoring programme is insufficiently detailed not not only dress project implementation phase but also operational phase

stakeholder invovlement was not yet completed no have all stakeholders been involved.



in a sample of 40 EIS only 4% were satisfactory for mitigation, particularly on monitoring

commitments aften vague

costs are major issue- typically £15-20k for great crested newts mitigation

mitigation often may not deliver

formal envt management planning is addressing the issue


Great Crested Newts mitigation

12 sites that were subejected to development mitigation in 2004 were studies 2011-2013

7 had declies (3 to possible extinction)

all showed degrees of isolation, fragmentation and barriers to dispersal

data reporting was flawed so detailed analysis was modelling was not possible

favourable conservation status assessment: carried out in relation to four components-
future proespects
4- bad
7- inaqeuqte
1- favourable

suggestions: impeove data collection and management, revise mitigation practive to maintain favourable conservation status, further applied research


Reviews of quality

Lee and Colley- project and envy, impact identification and evolution, alternatives and mitigation and presentation and communication


Assessment of EU

big improvements in description of development, local envy and baselines

less improvements in identification of impacts (including scoping and methodologies) and in alternative mitigation

waste disposal best overal, motorways much improved

extractive industy excellen in Germany, poor in Belgium and Spain


Factors influencing quality

nature of legal requirements for EIA

experience of the proponent, the consultation and competent authority

existence of scoping

length of EIA report (cost of EIA)

nature and size of projects

often acting in combination appear to be important in determining the quality of EISs


Barriers to Quality


competitive tendering

success fees

lack of experience or capacity

lack of multidisciplinary approach


Indicators of sustainability



Biological indicators

dibden bay: mudflats and salt marsh; birds

great crested newts

tywford down M3 extension; grassland plants, butterflied and ants, amenity


operational indicators

twyford M3 was operating above capacity as soon as it was opened and traffic levels are projected to keep increasing - is this sD?


economic indicators

Gezhouba Dam (china- completed 1988 on yangtze)

predicted cost $168 million , actual cost $625 million



specialist level (IEMA- institute of envt management and assesment) or coordinator level (accreditation based on ongoing proven wilily, dependently reviewed)



allows organisations that lead the coordination of stat EIAS in the UK to make a commitment to excellence in their EIA activated and have the commitment independently reviewed

reviews the organisation- but looks at their work (ES)

7 Key commitments


Team capabilities

Regulatory Compliance

context and influence



improving EIA practice



There have been problems in the quality of EISs
This has improved since the early years, but there are still problems in some areas
Commercial considerations are still an obstacle
Formal third party review and professional development should become standard