Furthering Environmental Impact Assessment

Furthering Environmental Impact Assessment

Towards a Seamless Connection between EIA and EMS

Edited by Anastássios Perdicoúlis, Bridget Durning and Lisa Palframan

The environmental impact of development projects is currently studied and mitigated from two distinct perspectives: before and after project implementation, with environmental impact assessment (EIA) and environmental management systems (EMS) being the main instruments on the respective sides. This double perspective creates a discontinuity in the way environmental impacts are analysed, an issue that has been noted by both academics and practitioners. This book gathers and presents both theoretical and actual examples to link EIA with EMS and explores ways to overcome difficulties and provide innovative solutions.

Chapter 5: ESIA Effectiveness through Links to EMS

Martin Broderick

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, environment, environmental management, environmental sociology


Martin Broderick Environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) is well established as an environmental policy instrument. As with any well established tool, there is ongoing debate about how effective it really is (Sadler, 1996; Carroll and Turpin, 2002; Turpin, 2010). Such studies have tended to focus on macro scale procedural aspects within national jurisdictions (Wood, 2003) with less attention being paid to the micro-scale more substantive outcomes, i.e. improving the projects operational and post-closure environmental performance. Therefore, a key question at the micro-scale project level is: will the ESIA, on its own, lead to the project (and impacted environment) being managed in an acceptable way? Appropriately employed, ESIA is a key integrative element in environmental protection, but is only one element of that policy toolbox (Wood, 2003). Other elements include the monitoring and evaluation of the impacts of a project (which has been subject to ESIA) and the subsequent management of the environmental performance of that project. This process has been termed ESIA ‘Follow-Up’ (Morrison-Saunders and Arts, 2004b). The follow-up processes have the same goal as the key ESIA elements, namely to minimise the negative consequences of development and maximise the positive, with the emphasis on the action being taken to achieve this goal. It has been suggested by some authors that ESIA has little value unless follow-up is carried out: without it the process remains incomplete and the consequences of ESIA planning and decision making are unknown. By minimising the negative and maximising the positive outcomes, it is postulated...

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