Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is one of the corner stones of the UK planning system. EIA serves to deliver projects that have considered the potential environmental impacts associated with a large development. The EIA process should identify potential environmental issues so that solutions may be implemented to minimise the potential impact.
There are various stages to undertaking an EIA, the first of which is to determine whether or not the project actually requires a full EIA to be undertaken. This decision is make in consultation with the Local Planning Authority and is known as “Screening”. If a full EIA is not required, it has often proved prudent to undertake a limited number of environmental assessments in relation to specific topics, such as air quality or noise, etc.
Should it be determined that an EIA is required, we recommend presenting the Local Planning Authority with a detailed report detailing:
- the project and its location (including existing environmental situation);
- the assessments that will be undertaken;
- justification for why these assessments are considered necessary; and,
- the assessment methodology that will be followed.
This process, referred to as “Scoping” is not a legal requirement, but experience has shown that this approach sets the project off on the right foot from the start.
The end product of an EIA is a series of documents to be sumbitted to the Local Planning Authority. This will include:
- a non-technical summary (NTS)
- an Environmental Statement – describing the project and presenting the various assessments undertaken
- technical appendices
The EIA process considers alternatives to the proposed development, such as geographical location, layout, infrastructure, technology or indeed whether there is a need for the project at all – the “do nothing” alternative.
EIA projects are considered in light of international and national legislation, policies at all levels of Government and are assessed in line with best practice and guidance from bodies such as DEFRA, DfT and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA).
The EIA may include assessment of one or more of the following broard headings:
- air auality;
- cultural and natural heritage;
- human health effects;
- landscape and visual effects;
- noise and vibration;
- soils and geology;
- solid residues;
- water; and,
- the cumulative effect of any of the above.
Tivoli Consulting has the expertise to undertaken may of the assessments mentioned above. We also have a close network of teaming partners who provide complementary knowledge and expertise so that all issues can be addressed.
EIA is one of Tivoli’s main work areas, particularly in relation to energy from waste type projects. Over the past 5 years our staff has been involved with approximately 10 such projects, all of which have subsequently been granted Planning Permission.