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Environmental Impact Assessment

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is the process of examining the anticipated environmental effects of a proposed project – from consideration of environmental aspects at design stage, through consultation and preparation of an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR), evaluation of the EIAR by a competent authority, the subsequent decision as to whether the project should be permitted to proceed, encompassing public response to that decision.  An EIAR is a report or statement of the effects, if any, which the proposed project, if carried out, would have on the environment.  It is prepared by the developer to inform the EIA process.

  • It is the estimation of what would be the possible impact of any proposed or planned activity on the environment level i.e. assessment of possible environmental consequences due to certain activity.
  • According to United Nations Environment Program Training Resource Manual, EIA is a process which provides information about the “prediction of how environment is expected to change if certain alternative actions are implemented and advice on how best to manage environmental changes if one alternative is selected and implemented.”
  • UNEP also considers EIA as a method to identify environmental, social and economic impact of an activity before making the decision to implement it
  • EIA helps to determine the level of positive/negative effect of the proposed activity on environment and suggests relevant managerial actions to reduce the harmful effects.
  • The prime objective of EIA is to inform the decision makers about the possible impact of proposed activity before making the final decision. Therefore, EIA is also considered as a valuable input for decision making about the proposed activity.
  • EIA can be decided both at short term and long term risks to the environment.
  • To assess the environmental impact, we must be well aware about the baseline situation of the environment i.e. existing situation of the environment before the start of the activity.
  • Environmental impact is actually the deviation/change in environmental situation due to certain activity.
  • It can be also referred as a process in which the environmental implication of an activity is assessed before reaching to a final conclusion of implementing the activity.
  • EIA is done while conducting almost all sorts of activities like: building a dam, cutting down trees, road construction, establishing industries, building power houses etc.
  • EIA conducting team includes people from diverse background who can make better and neutral decisions. This will also include public participation in decision making so that the quality of decision is stronger. Thus, public consultation is an important feature of EIA.
  • Different nations of the world have their own EIA guideline and follow their assessment method in order to provide high level of protection to the environment
  • Also, in EIA, different types of impacts on the environment are assessed:
    • Direct and indirect impact
    • Short term and long term impact
    • Adverse and beneficial impact and
    • Cumulative impact.
  • However, all impacts are not given equal importance/priority.
  • While talking about EIA, we must also realize that all activities might have some sort of negative impact on the environment. However, what EIA ensures is that the level of negative impact that can be created by an activity is at a very minimum level and high priority is always set for environmental protection.
  • EIA process ensures that the environmental issues are discussed from the very beginning stage where the activity is planned or decided to implement. Then, necessary actions are taken by the project side to rectify the concerned issues.
  • These necessary actions can be anything as small as making a minor change in the process or changing the entire design, modality and other prospects of the project cycle.

Verde Environmental Consultants’ in-house expertise in the main EIA disciplines and strategic partnerships enables us to efficiently project manage the EIA process, including initial screening, scoping, alternatives evaluations, EIA preparation and presentation at public enquiry.

Relevant Verde Projects

Soil, Geology & Hydrogeology Chapter for EIS at a Quarry site in Co. Antrim.

Environmental Risk Assessment on behalf of Limerick City and County Council.

IPC Compliance Support Services on behalf of the Quinn Group.

Hydrogeological and Appropriate Assessment at a site in Co. Kildare

PHM Consulting / Tipperary Co. Council, Thurles Library, Co. Tipperary – Environmental Risk Assessment

Learn more

Download the Draft Guidelines on the information to be contained in Environmental Impact Assessment Reports (EIAR)

Find out about Strategic Environmental Assessment

Read External linkthe European Commission’s information on EIA and SEA

Download the External linkCodified EIA Directive (2014/52/EU)

Legislation pertaining to EIA may be found on the External linkDepartment of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Authority and on the External linkIrish Statute Book website.

EIA thresholds may be found in the Unofficial Consolidation of Planning and Development Regulations 2001-2013 – External linkhttp://www.environ.ie/en/Legislation/DevelopmentandHousing/Planning/FileDownLoad,32879,en.pdf

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