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Scope, Benefits and Problems in Environmental Impact Assessment

By: Haseeb Jamal / On: Dec 28, 2017 / Environmental Effects, EIA
Problems in Environmental Impact Assessment

Benefits of Environmental Impact Assessment

The main benefits of EIA  process are:

  • Improved project design / siting
  • More informed decision making with improved opportunities for public involvement in decision making.
  • More environmentally sensitive decisions;
  • Increased accountability and transparency during the development process;
  • Improved integration of projects into their environmental and social setting;
  • Reduced environmental damage;
  • More effective projects in terms of meeting their financial and/or socio-economic objectives; and
  • A positive contribution towards achieving sustainability.

The study of EIA effectiveness shows a number of difficulties and constraints, generally, although not universally applicable, that continue to prevent and hinder EIA from consistently delivering these advantages and benefits:

Scope of EIA

Small scale projects not included in most environmental impact assessment systems although their cumulative impacts may be significant over time.

Problems in Environmental Impact Assessment

  • Difficulties in ensuring adequate and useful public involvement (or participation);
  • Insufficient integration of EIA work at key decision points in relation to feasibility and similar studies in the project life-cycle; with some major decisions being made even before EIAs are completed;
  • Lack of consistency in selection of developments requiring specific environmental impact assessment studies;
  • Inadequate understanding of the relative roles of baseline description and impact prediction;
  • Poor integration of biophysical environmental impacts with social, economic and health effects also adds to the Problems in Environmental Impact Assessment;
  • Production of EIA reports which are not easily understood by decision makers and the public because of their length and technical complexity;
  • Lack of mechanisms to ensure that EIA reports are considered in decision-making;
  • Weak linkages between environmental impact assessment report recommendations on mitigation and monitoring and project implementation and operation; and
  • Limited technical and managerial capacities in many countries to implement EIAs result in Problems in carrying out Environmental Impact Assessment.

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