Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) are required for projects that are likely to result in significant environmental impacts. EIAs are often used as the basis for legal challenge and therefore, it is important that the process is robust.
We have extensive experience in managing complex EIAs and are registrants of the Institute and Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) EIA Quality Mark scheme. The EIA Quality Mark is a scheme that allows organisations that lead the co-ordination of statutory EIAs in the UK to make a commitment to excellence in their EIA activities and have this commitment independently reviewed. Further information on the benefits of using an EIA Quality Mark registrant can be found here.
We can co-ordinate the entire EIA process from Screening/Scoping through to the production of the Environmental Statements and Non-Technical Summaries. As part of this process we provide detailed briefings to the project team and continually liaise with them to ensure that there is consistency over what is being assessed, the approach to the assessment process and the presentation of the findings. One of the key areas we focus on is identifying and maximising the beneficial effects of the development and drawing out the sometimes obscured ‘inherent’ mitigation to ensure that a balanced and objective view of impacts is presented in the Environmental Statement. Our aim is to produce a main document that is succinct and readable for planning officers, consultees and the public so that it can provide a useful technical assessment to inform the decision making process.
In addition to liaison with the project team, where appropriate we will also be involved in discussions with consultees, acting as the client’s representative as necessary to ensure that a robust and holistic view of the technical disciplines is taken in the context of the overall project.
For non-EIA projects technical issues can still be the main concern for planning officers and we can manage the necessary technical studies required as part of the planning application in a similar way to an EIA project. The aims are the same, to resolve technical issues, identify both beneficial and adverse effects, devise appropriate mitigation and achieve deliverable mechanisms for their implementation.