Environmental Impact Assessment in the Arctic
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Environmental Impact Assessment in the Arctic

A Guide to Best Practice

Timo Koivurova, Pamela Lesser, Sonja Bickford, Paula Kankaanpää and Marina Nenasheva

Significant growth in economic activity in the Arctic has added weight to the argument that projects must be developed responsibly and sustainably. Addressing growing concerns regarding the exploitation of the Arctic’s natural resources, this timely book presents and evaluates examples of best practice in Arctic environmental impact assessment.
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Chapter 6: Sweden

Timo Koivurova, Pamela Lesser, Sonja Bickford, Paula Kankaanpää and Marina Nenasheva


Sweden’s EIA system is based on the European Union’s EIA Directive. A brief overview of the legislative history of the development of the environmental impact assessment in Sweden can give insight into the process in which the EIA is currently conducted in Sweden. In Sweden, EIA was introduced gradually and has resulted in provisions for EIA to be included in more than twenty different acts. The overall objective of the environmental impact assessments in Sweden is to increase the consideration of environmental and management issues in decision-making (National Board of Housing, Building and Physical Planning et al. 1997). In 1981, a limited form of the EIA was introduced in the Environmental Protection Act. This legislation of the 1980s was noted as being more concerned about the individual details of each impact, such as emissions for example, rather than impacts on the environment as a whole. This initial Act did not include demands on alternatives to be developed. In 1987, EIA regulations were incorporated into the Swedish Road Act (Swedish Code of Statutes 1987c). In the early 1990s, EIA regulations were enacted on a larger scale. For example, in 1991, provisions for EIA were incorporated into the Natural Resources Act (Swedish Code of Statutes 1987b) and more detailed provisions regarding the implementation of the EIA were issued in the EIA decree (Swedish Code of Statutes 1991b).

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