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EIA for Better Design

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13.13 Nancy Tonkin.pdf
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EIA for Better Design

  1. 1. EIA For Better Design Institution of Environmental Sciences EIA Discussion Forum Eleni Antoniades 18 March 2021
  2. 2. Eleni Antoniades Project Environmental Lead Construction Environmental Management and Assessment Aviation and Infrastructure Trustee and Board Member of the IES email: e.antoniades@eaenvironmental.com linkedin.com/in/eleniantoniadesenvironmental
  3. 3. EIA Process General public environmental awareness has increased in recent years in the UK, with the growth of pressure groups and a greater interest in climate change as well as protected and designated sites As environmental professionals working in EIA, we are increasingly finding ourselves working on projects which are opposed by residents of the local and wider community. How can we, as EIA professionals use our expertise to positively influence the design process? What are the barriers to this may and how can they be overcome?
  4. 4. EIA Regulations The requirement to avoid, prevent, reduce, off-set and mitigate environmental mpacts is written into the EIA Regulations: EIA Town and Country Planning As Amended in 2017 (3) An environmental statement is a statement which includes at least (c) a description of any features of the proposed development, or measures envisaged in order to avoid, prevent or reduce and, if possible, offset likely significant adverse effects on the environment; (d) a description of the reasonable alternatives studied by the developer, which are relevant to the proposed development and its specific characteristics, and an indication of the main reasons for the option chosen, taking into account the effects of the development on the environment ) if the decision is— (i) to grant planning permission or subsequent consent— a description of any features of the development and any measures envisaged in order to avoid, prevent, reduce and, if possible, offset, likely significant adverse effects on the environment; and 7. A description of the measures envisaged to avoid, prevent, reduce or, if possible, offset any identified significant adverse effects on the environment and, where appropriate, of any proposed monitoring arrangements (for example the preparation of a post-project analysis). That description should explain the extent, to which significant adverse effects on the environment are avoided, prevented, reduced or offset, and should cover both the construction and operational phases
  5. 5. The Challenge As EIA is intended to be an iterative process which feeds into the design, we need to understand why as EIA professionals we often find ourselves assessing a project at a stage where we can have limited influence over the key design elements. The key to unlocking this is for environmental professionals working in EIA (EIA Project Leads, EIA Co-ordinators and Topic Specialists) to become involved at the very early stages of a project (feasibility and options appraisal) and for the environmental elements to have an equal weighting with engineering and economic impacts. The polls at the start of this forum we asked: 1) As an environmental professional, have you worked on the environmental assessment at feasibility stage of projects? Yes/ No 2) As an environmental professional, have you worked on the environmental assessment at the options appraisal stage of projects? Yes/ No 3) As an environmental professional, have you worked on the environmental assessment at the EIA Report or ES Report stage of projects? Yes/ No
  6. 6. Feasibility Stage of a re- opening of a railway line between Bentley and Bordon
  7. 7. Options Appraisal Stage Airport Development- Site selection or route selection
  8. 8. Options Appraisal Stage: e.g. since 1991, 51 proposals have been considered for improving the A303 in the Stonehenge area
  9. 9. EIA Stage/ES Stage –most likely site will be selected, preferred route option is most likely to be selected, outline design will be in place
  10. 10. We will break out into groups: 1. Feasibility Stage 2. Options Appraisal 3. EIA Report/ ES Stage Where we can discuss the barriers to influencing the design at each of these stages 1. Feasibility Stage  Have you had the opportunity to assess a project at the feasibility stage?  Have you ever worked on a project which did not go past the feasibility stage on purely environmental grounds?  It is likely that a Client/Developer would approach consultants for feasibility study with the requirement for positive outcome. Has there been pressure to make the project be feasible, in your experience? 2. Options Appraisal  Have you had the opportunity to carry out options appraisal during a project’s development and if so which tools did you use (e.g. DfT Transport Appraisal Guidance)  Did the environmental elements have equal weighting with engineering and economic, or was it carried out retrospectively?  What weighting do you believe environmental assessment should have on the options appraisal and should an option be rejected purely on environmental grounds EIA Report/ ES Stage  Do you typically play an active role in the design of a project as part of the design team, along with civil /structural engineers?  Are you typically given a project route/building/structure which has already been designed and required to assess this in the EIA Report?  In your experience has your advice as an environmental professional been incorporated into the design process and influenced the design OR has design changed following public consultation /Statutory Consultee feedback?
  11. 11. 1. Feasibility Stage Have you had the opportunity to assess a project at the feasibility stage? Have you ever worked on a project which did not go past the feasibility stage on purely environmental grounds?  It is likely that a Client/Developer would approach consultants for feasibility study with the requirement for positive outcome. Has there been pressure to make the project work? © Leo Hillier Photography, RAF Marham Runway
  12. 12. 2) Options Appraisal Stage Have you had the opportunity to carry out options appraisal during a project’s development and if so which tools did you use (e.g. Transport Appraisal Guidance) Did the environmental elements have equal weighting with engineering and economic, or was it carried out retrospectively? What weighting do you believe environmental assessment should have on the options appraisal and should an option be rejected purely on environmental grounds © Leo Hillier Photography, RAF Marham Runway
  13. 13. 3) EIA Report/ ES Stage Do you typically play an active role in the design of a project as part of the design team, along with civil /structural engineers? Are you typically given a project route/building/structure which has already been designed and required to assess this in the EIA Report? In your experience has your advice as an environmental professional been incorporated into the design process and influenced the design OR has design changed following public consultation /Statutory Consultee? (c) Photo: Moreas Construction
  14. 14. Conclusion  Feasibility stage: at earlier stages of a project, during feasibility there is more scope to avoid environmentally sensitive sites entirely and to prevent adverse environmental impacts  Options appraisal stage: there is scope to prevent and reduce environmental impacts  EIA Report Stage: there is scope to reduce, mitigate and off-set  Potential for influence can decrease over time  Become involved at earlier stages of a project  Environment to have equal weighting with engineering and economic appraisal  EIA Report / ES Stage should be an opportunity to provide enhancement and improvements to the environment

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