Environmental Impact Assessment

Module summary

Module code: ENVI0303
Level: 6
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Natural Resources Institute
Module Coordinator(s): Deborah Bartlett



This course aims to explain the nature of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and give a detailed knowledge of the operation of EIA procedures in the UK.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) can be described as a decision-making tool, a legislative instrument and a formalised environmental management process. It exists to enable precautionary measures to be incorporated into project and policy planning for the protection of environmental and human systems prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made. This is an introductory course highlighting some of the methods used to predict environmental impacts, and to see how these may be used to integrate environmental factors into decisions. The regulatory requirements for statutory EIA, the methodologies commonly used in its preparation, its relationship with development decisions and the ways in which it can contribute to sustainable development will be examined.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1 Plan, design, interpret and critically reflect on a range of assessment (socio-economics; traffic and transport; landscape and visual impact; ecology) tasks employed in EIA.

2 Critically review the EIA process as implemented in a range of countries.

3 Critically assess the overall quality of an Environmental Statement produced as part of a ‘real-life’ project.

4 Contribute effectively to working as part of a team.

Indicative content

Overview and historical development of Environmental Impact Assessment; Nature of EIA, EIA process, evaluation of EIA systems; Implementation of EIA in the UK EIA systems in other countries. EIA tasks, methods and techniques; coverage of alternatives, screening and scoping; Introduction to assessment methodologies: Checklists & Matrices; prediction of impacts and preparation of EIA reports; environmental statement production; consultation and public participation in EIA; mitigation and decision making in EIA; monitoring and post-auditing. Extension of EIA to policies, plans and programmes (Strategic Environmental Assessment - SEA). SEA principles; SEA status worldwide; links between SEA, environmental impact assessment, and strategic decision-making.

Best practice methodologies in a range of impact areas, including: Socio-economic assessment; Ecological Assessment; Landscape and Visual Impact assessment; Transport Assessment. Review of Environmental Statements.