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Environmental Impact Assessment

Southwest Environmental Limited can conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on your behalf. EIA is a procedure that must be followed for certain types of development before they are granted development consent. The product of Environmental Impact Assessment is an Environmental Statement that is submitted to local authorities.

Read EIA FAQs

Further Details on Components of EIA

The requirement for Environmental Impact Assessment comes from a European Directive (85/33/EEC as amended by 97/11/EC). The procedure requires the developer to compile an Environmental Statement (ES) describing the likely significant effects of the development on the environment and proposed mitigation measures.

 The ES must be circulated to statutory consultation bodies and made available to the public for comment. Its contents, together with any comments, must be taken into account by the competent authority (eg local planning authority) before it may grant consent.

There are seven key areas that an Environmental Impact Assessment focuses on:

1. Description of the project

  • Description of actual project and site description
  • Break the project down into its key components, ie construction, operations, decommissioning
  • For each component list all of the sources of environmental disturbance
  • For each component all the inputs and outputs must be listed, eg, air pollution, noise, hydrology

2. Alternatives that have been considered

  • Examine alternatives that have been considered
  • Example: in a biomass power station, will the fuel be sourced locally or nationally?

3. Description of the environment

  • List of all aspects of the environment that may be effected by the development
  • Example: populations, fauna, flora, air, soil, water, humans, landscape, cultural heritage
  • This section is best carried out with the help of local experts, eg the RSPB in the UK

Environmental Impact Assessment News

Ethiopian Dam Impact Assessment "Fatally Flawed"

The corporation also short-circuited the environmental and social impact assessment (Environmental Impact Assessment) process. Instead the study - which gave the project a clean bill of health - was published two years after construction began.

One of the project's staunchest critics, Kenyan ecologist Richard Leakey, suspects the study was produced with one aim in mind.

He said: "The scientists that I've shown [the Environmental Impact Assessment] to - some of whom have worked in Ethiopia for years and may have even advised the Ethiopian government at some point - suggest it is fatally flawed in terms of its logic, in terms of its thoroughness, in terms of its conclusions.

Read More

4. Description of the significant effects on the environment

  • The word significant is crucial here as the definition can vary
  • 'Significant' needs to be defined
  • The most frequent method used here is use of the Leopold matrix
  • The matrix is a tool used in the systematic examination of potential interactions
  • Example: in a wind farm development a significant impact may be collisions with birds

5. Mitigation

  • This is where Environmental Impact Assessment is most useful
  • Once section 4 has been completed it will be obvious where the impacts will be greatest
  • Using this information ways to avoid negative impacts should be developed
  • Best working with the developer with this section as they know the project best
  • Using the wind farm example again construction could be out of bird nesting seasons

6. Non-technical summary (EIS)

  • The Environmental Impact Assessment will be in the public domain and be used in the decision making process
  • It is important that the information is available to the public
  • This section is a summary that does not include jargon or complicated diagrams
  • It should be understood by the informed lay-person

7. Lack of know-how/technical difficulties

  • This section is to advise any areas of weakness in knowledge
  • It can be used to focus areas of future research
  • Some developers see the Environmental Impact Assessment as a starting block for good environmental management

Components of Environmental Impact Assessment

Noise Environmental Impact Assessment   Visual and Landscape Environmental Impact Assessment   Transport Environmental Impact Assessment
         
Ecology Environmental Impact Assessment   Socio Economic Environmental Impact Assessment   Heritage Environmental Impact Assessment
         
Air Quality and Climate Environmental Impact Assessment   Soils, Geology and Geomorphology Environmental Impact Assessment   Water Environmental Impact Assessment
         
Costal Ecology and Geomorphology Environmental Impact Assessment   Odour Impact Assessment   Environmental Impact Assessment for Wind Turbines

Environmental Impact Assessment FAQs

When do I need to do an Environmental Impact Assessment?   How do I compile an Environmental Impact Assessment?   What is an Environmental Statement?
         
Which consultants can offer advice on Environmental Impact Assessment?   Which areas of the country (UK) does Environmental Impact Assessment affect?   How does government judge if an Environmental Impact Assessment is needed?
         
Schedule 1 or 2 for Environmental Impact Assessment?   Read Legislation on Environmental Impact Assessment   In which localities will SWEL undertake Environmental Impact Assessments?
         

FAQs

When do I need to do an Environmental Impact Assessment?

You may be asked to provide an environmental statement in advance of being granted planning permission for a project, examples might include a single wind turbine, and wind farm or very large projects like hospitals, power stations, and housing developments.

The requirement for EIA is deduced by;

a  - The type of development you propose. Schedule 1 or 2?

Thresholds are often applied using the example of flood defences we can take guidance from Circular 2/99: Environmental Impact Assessment states that EIA shall only be required if the works area exceeds 5ha s or 2 km in length. Read about Example.

How do I compile an Environmental Impact Assessment?

There are various elements of Environmental Impact Assessments that focus on certain areas where impact may be apparent, these include noise, visual, ecology and traffic impacts, which each require specialist attention. The processes involved are further explained in the component pages.

What is an Environmental Statement?

An Environmental Statement is the product of EIA, it is a summary and a drawing together of all the findings from the various components of impact assessment that have been carried out.

Particularly with large projects the various components of the EIA can run in to thousands of pages, it is necessary to convey the findings of these components and jointly assess their impact in a document that is practical to read, and does get bogged down in the technicalities of EIA.

Which consultants can offer advice on Environmental Impact Assessment?

SWEL can offer meet any EIA needs you may have, we are happy to discuss any aspect of your project, and can offer an all in compliance solution for all stages of your projects lifecycle.

Which areas of the country (UK) does Environmental Impact Assessment affect?

The requirement from EIA stems from European initiatives, and as such it is a UK wide consideration.

However, there are various special areas within the UK, where smaller projects may require EIA, these might include;

- SSSI
- RAMSAR Wetlands
- Green Belt
- AONBs
- Forest Parks
- Marine Nature Reserves
- National Nature Reserves
- National Parks
- Special Areas of Conservation
- Special Protection Areas

It is not impossible to build within these sites just more difficult to justify.
sssi map

How does government judge if an Environmental Impact Assessment is needed?

There are various categories of development with regards to EIA. These are split in to Schedule 1 and 2.

Examples of Schedule 1 projects include:

• Major power plants
• Chemical works
• Waste disposal incineration
• Major Roads Schemes
  Examples of Schedule 2 Projects include:

• Quarries and opencast
• Some intensive livestock rearing
• Overhead transmission lines

Schedule 1 or 2 for Environmental Impact Assessment?

Whether or not you development is schedule 1 or not is fairly clear cut. Schedules 2  are not as clearly defined, they rely on siting and size;

For developments of a smaller scale located wholly or partly in environmentally sensitive locations where their effects are significant; in certain cases, other areas subject to environmentally-based statutory or non-statutory designations not included in the definition of “sensitive area” may also be relevant in determining whether EIA is required; urban locations may also be considered sensitive as effects on a densely populated area may be significant;

and

"For developments with unusually complex and potentially hazardous environmental effects where expert and detailed analysis of such effects would be desirable and would be relevant to the issue of whether or not the development should be allowed."
schedule 1 or 2

In which localities will SWEL undertake Environmental Impact Assessments?

SWEL will travel anywhere in the UK to undertake an environmental impact assessment or any single elements, with offices in London, Bristol and Exeter we are best placed to serve the south west UK.

Please contact us for a free initial consultation.

Environmental Impact Assessment for Wind Turbines

Updates to the National Planning Policy Framework suggest the following environmental impact assessment elements are necessary for planning applications that include wind turbines.

What is cumulative impact? This is explored in greater depth on our Visual Impact Assessment Page.

 

Components of EIA

Environmental Impact Assessment Consultants Bristol

Environmental Impact Assessment Consultants Exeter

Environmental Impact Assessment Consultants London

 

edie.net Environmental Impact Assessment - London, Bristol & Exeter

 

S.D. Content

Environmental Impact Consultants

Bristol - 01173 270 092

Exeter - 01398 331 258

London - 02076 920 670

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