Environmental Impact Assessment

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  • Topic: Environmental impact assessment, Environmental law, Impact assessment
  • Pages : 33 (8897 words )
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  • Published : January 16, 2013
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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a systematic process to identify, predict and evaluate the environmental effects of proposed actions in order to aid decision making regarding the significant environmental consequences of projects, developments and programmes.

EIA helps the stakeholders with the identification of the environmental, social and economic impacts of a proposed development before a decision is taking on whether or not to proceed. Particular attention is given in EIA practice to preventing, mitigating and offsetting the significant adverse effects of proposed undertakings.

PURPOSE OF EIA

EIA provides information for decision-making on the environmental consequences of proposed actions; and promotes environmentally sound and sustainable development through the identification of appropriate enhancement and mitigation measures

Environmental Impact Assessment is a tool used for decision making regarding projects, developments and programmes such as incinerators, airport runways, pig rearing and peat extraction. EIA is intended to identify the Environmental, Social and Economic impacts of a proposed development prior to decision making.

This means that it is easy to identify;
1. The most environmentally suitable option at an early stage. 2. The Best Practicable Environmental Option.
3. Alternative processes.

The project managers can then address these problems in order to avoid or minimise environmental impacts in conjunction with their project planning. This results in the likelyhood of the project planning stages running smoother

EXPLANATION

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is the process of assessing the likely environmental impacts of a proposal and identifying options to minimise environmental damage. The main purpose of EIA is to inform decision makers of the likely impacts of a proposal before a decision is made. EIA provides an opportunity to identify key issues and stakeholders early in the life of a proposal so that potentially adverse impacts can be addressed before final approval decisions are made.

According to a United Nations Environment Program Training Resource Manual: EIA is a structured approach for obtaining and evaluating environmental information prior to its use in decision-making in the development process. This information consists, basically, of predictions of how the 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. Until relatively recently, with a few notable exceptions, EIA focused on proposed physical developments such as highways, power stations, water resource projects and large-scale industrial facilities. Slowly, but increasingly, its scope of application is expanding to include policies, plans and other actions which also form part of the development process.

Decision-makers are provided, by EIA, with information (and often recommendations) on the anticipated consequences of their choices. EIA is, therefore, a management tool with technical input, not a technical aid with 'add on' management aspects. This distinction is crucial to an understanding of the objectives of EIA and how it can best be implemented.

EIA has been in existence since 1970 (when it was introduced into the United States of America following the National Environmental Policy Act coming into effect) and has spread rapidly since then to all parts of the world. EIA is still relatively 'young' and the number of countries which use it, as a legal/administrative requirement, is still increasing. At the same time, EIA practice (and the techniques used) is evolving as experience has been gained on its utility in a wide range of development and geographic contexts.

The use of EIA has been formalized by the introduction of national laws and regulations and, in some cases, policies which establish...
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