• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Critically evaluate the role and effectiveness of Environmental Impact Assessment in ensuring environmentally sound and sustainable development in the UK

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐Critically evaluate the role and effectiveness of Environmental Impact Assessment in ensuring environmentally sound and sustainable development in the UK The World Conservation Strategy (WCS) demonstrated in 1980 that development can only be sustained by the integration of development and conservation policies to conserve the resources on which that development depends on (Gilpin, 2000). In 1987, The Brundtland Commission, in its report to the Governing Council of UNEP (Our Common Future), defined sustainable development as: ?development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs? (WCED, 1987). In recent times, this definition only forms the basic framework for the concept of sustainable development (Buytaert et al., 2011).The malleability of the concept of sustainable development is a major reason why it has been embraced internationally (O?Riordan, 1993), but paradoxically, that same reason is its greatest challenge. The malleable nature of the concept gives rise to significant conceptual difficulties in operationalizing the concept and evaluating the contribution of decision-aiding tools to sustainable development (Cashmore, 2004). Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is simply defined as ?a systematic process to identify, predict and evaluate the environmental effects of proposed actions and projects? (Sadler and McCabe, 2002:103). It was originally intended to be an ?action-forcing? device to bring about environmental reform in throughout the US federal bureaucracy (Caldwell, 1982 cited in Petts, 1999:251). It has now become a decision- aiding tool and has evolved greatly over the years (Sadler and McCabe, 2002). ...read more.

Middle

This integration of EIA into planning and policymaking has been called by some as the "ultimate means by which sustainable development can be achieved" (Partidario, 1996:34 cited in Shepherd and Leonard, 1996:321). This view is supported by Devuyst et al. (2001) when the co-existence of a strong policy at the local level is necessary for the achievement of sustainable development. According to Petts (1999), the procedures and methods of EIA are largely intact in SEA; the two are therefore not entirely distinct. SEA has a wide perspective and a low level of detail and results in the production of a broad vision and overall framework while EIA has a narrow perspective and a high level of detail and results in the production of project-specific data (Dalal-Clayton and Sadler,1999). These can therefore be used complimentarily. SEA therefore can be used to streamline and strengthen the EIA process but it cannot replace it. EIA was introduced into the UK via the European Union Directive (85/337/EEC) on Environmental Impact Assessments. It was implemented in 1985 and has since been amended three times, in 1997, in 2003 and in 2009 (European Commission, 2011). The Directive was designed in a manner that gave the Member States ample discretion to incorporate the EIA practice into their individual legislations. The only condition was that, the basic principles and procedural requirements had to be satisfied (Lee, 1995). Within the United Kingdom, EIA is applied mainly to some major projects or developments which require planning approval from local authorities under the Town and Country Planning Act (Carroll and Turpin, 2002). ...read more.

Conclusion

With regard to the influence of EIA on final decision outcomes, Jones and Wood (1997) found that, over one-third of planning officers indicated that environmental issues were the major factor influencing the decision by the committee. In three of the cases, the inadequacy of information on environmental impacts in the ES was cited as one of the reasons for refusal. But then again, other views from planning some officers indicated that some decision outcomes would have still remained the same without the EIA (Jones and Wood, 1997). EIA practice in UK is not without some major criticisms. According to (Glasson, J. et al., 2005), these include the poor treatment of combined and cumulative impacts of a proposal where it is one of several in an area; a lack of attention to global impacts on air quality and climate and lack of consideration for alternative sites, processes or technologies. From the cited studies, it is evident that the quality of ESs are much better, EIA leads to modifications in proposals and that it contributes to the decision making process. EIA therefore has contributed to more sustainable development in UK since its implementation. These studies and others however suggest that this is not always the case hence; the full potential benefits of EIA are not being realized (Jones and Wood, 1997). There is still much room for improvement if its contribution to sustainable development is to be maximized. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Environmental & Physical Geography section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Environmental & Physical Geography essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    "Environmental degradation is neither the inevitable price of, nor a desirable path for, economic ...

    5 star(s)

    (Devlin & Grafton, 1998: 14) Nonetheless, in most parts of the world the quality of the environment continues to diminish. Poor air and water quality, environmental degradation, and threatened biodiversity are becoming commonplace across the spectrum from newly industrialized

  2. Environmental Management. The London smog of 1952 is one of history's most important ...

    A fraction of these likely resulted from air pollution and a fraction from influenza. The exact numbers of influenza-related and air pollution-related deaths are unknown and continue to generate debate (Stone 2002). Estimates of influenza deaths generated through multiple approaches contradict the influenza theory, indicating that far more people died from air pollution than originally believed.

  1. In this essay I am going to evaluate a range of sources that cover ...

    This is not always the case; Mckie (2011) is authored by the science editor of the Observer (well-established broadcast newspaper). PSMs, on the other hand are occasionally written by scientists Brewer (2008) and at least science graduates, Zielinski (2011). Though credible, The Economist (2010)

  2. Global Warming. Due to too much information, there are many conflicting views on whether ...

    These are allowing the Earth itself to tell us about its climate history for the first time. This new technology has also allowed meteorologist to see what is happening to planet earth via satellites. Meteorologists discovered changes in the ozone layer, which they believe are connected with the green house

  1. This Community Research Project is aimed at examining Barangay Nazareths waste management system in ...

    Identify the existing waste management system 3. Identify problems associated with the current waste management system and how the community responds to these hindrances. The following are the objectives of the waste management programs implemented in the community: 1.

  2. Disposal of Toxic and Radioactive Materials with Special Focus on the Philippines

    Types of dangerous waste materials and their properties India is the very first nation which has made constitutional procedures for safety and development of the natural environment. In the Chapter IV of the Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution, Article 48-A joins their state to create safety and

  1. "The tropical rainforest is the most complex ecosystem on Earth, yet human use of ...

    Over-cultivation has destroyed the fragile ecosystem. This exacerbates environmental degradation and lowers agricultural productivity, thereby contributing further to poverty of developing countries. 3.3 Commercial Logging There is a large variety of trees in tropical rainforests. Most of them are valuable hardwoods which are quality for construction purposes and furniture making.

  2. Systematically review and critically evaluate the current protection measures available for nature conservation in ...

    The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 3. The Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act 2000 4. The Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 5. The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 Protection of important sites for nature conservation is also achieved by the designation of ?protected areas? (see table 1).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work