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Environmental Assessment

A study to develop and implement an overall strategy for EIA/SEA research in the EU
Summary

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1. This Study has been undertaken by the EC Joint Research Centre Ispra for the EC Environment DG , Brussels. The aim of the Study is to propose a scheme to develop and implement an overall strategy for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) research in the European Union. The proposals are based on deficiencies and research needs identified through literature survey, with emphasis on the findings of four selected key documents, and through the analysis of the responses to a questionnaire prepared by the authors of this Study and filled in by acknowledged EIA/SEA experts. The proposals reflect the authors' subjective interpretation of the findings of the analysis undertaken; different proposals could be formulated starting from different points of view.

2. Six EIA areas and four SEA areas have been selected as priority areas for research. The selected areas are intended to form a "research priority group"; at this stage they are all considered of equal priority. They are listed below following the order of the questionnaire structure:

  • Environmental indicators for EIA
  • Prediction of impacts in EIA
  • Monitoring in EIA
  • Public participation in EIA
  • Influence of the quality of the EIS and other components of the EIA process on the decision by the competent authority.
  • Integration of EIA and socio-economic appraisal in the overall appraisal of the project
  • Methods to predict the impacts of PPPs
  • Political and procedural problems in SEA
  • Integration of SEA and socio-economic appraisal in overall appraisal of PPPs
  • Link between EIA and SEA.

3. One or more research tasks are proposed within each of the selected priority areas; the proposed research tasks are seventeen. They are defined in general terms, without details. It is intended to adapt each of them to individual needs such as financial support available, interests of funding organisation and competencies of the team that will perform the task. They relate to deficiencies and research needs common to a number of Member States and involve different aspects of research-related actions: investigation (e.g. identification and critical evaluation of case studies of good practice), comparative analysis (e.g. comparison of methods and practices) and applied research (e.g. development of new methods).

4. The proposed research tasks are complemented with support measures to implement the research strategy, relating to the duration and form of the research strategy, its funding, research networking and dissemination of the research findings, co-ordination and monitoring of the research strategy and, finally, training.

5. A structure in two/three-year phases is proposed for the research strategy, as this will enable the strategy to respond to developments in EIA/SEA practice. The first phase of the strategy is intended to focus on the six EIA and four SEA priority areas for research selected in this Study. Subsequent phases will address EIA/SEA areas of lower priority and evolving issues in all areas.

6. There is no particular source of funding available to implement the EIA/SEA research strategy. Funding is therefore expected to come from a variety of sources under different types of research programmes, depending on the extent to which proposed specific tasks meet the objectives of a particular (international, EC, national, regional or private sector) research programme. Then, possible sources of funding include international organisations (World Bank, UNEP, UNECE, OECD, WHO), Directorate-Generals of the European Commission under various EC programmes and organisations in Member States (public authorities, research institutes, private organisations). It is suggested that the EC Environment DG finance the co-ordination and monitoring of the research strategy and a few selected EIA/SEA research tasks (e.g. under competitive support).

7. It is suggested that each individual research task have a duration of 6 - 12 months and a cost in the range of 50,000 - 120,000 ECU, the average cost of SEA tasks being higher than that of EIA tasks (since the former are generally concerned with wider and more complex matters).

8. To encourage research networking, the development of a database of EIA/SEA research activities is proposed. The database should aim to provide a comprehensive coverage of EIA/SEA research being undertaken at all levels (of geographical coverage and institution) in the EU. It is suggested that the national EIA Centres provide a national register of EIA/SEA research. The compilation of the data obtained from the national research registers could then provide the basis of a European-wide database of EIA/SEA research. It is proposed that research networking be further encouraged by additional measures such as the undertaking of joint research projects between Member States and the organisation of researchers' meetings.

9. The creation of a homepage for EIA/SEA on the World Wide Web is proposed to provide greater dissemination of information on a global scale and to provide links with other WWW sites related to EIA/SEA

10. It is proposed that better use be made of existing means available to disseminate the results of research, namely of national EIA centres, the European Chapter of IAIA, existing journals, international and national meetings in the EIA/SEA field.

11. To co-ordinate and monitor the implementation of the research strategy, the establishment of a steering group is proposed, consisting of members from national EIA Centre research forums, researchers as well as practitioners. It is proposed that the steering group be responsible not only for the implementation of the first phase of the research strategy, but also for the evolving subsequent phases. It is suggested that the EC Joint Research Centre - Ispra assist in the co-ordination and monitoring of the implementation of the research strategy, under the responsibility of EC Environment DG and with the help of the steering group. The Joint Research Centre - Ispra could also assist the co-ordination of the national EIA centres and the Environment DG in the management of the proposed EIA/SEA homepage on the World Wide Web.

12. To ensure training is given the attention which it deserves, it is proposed as the subject of a separate strategy and not as part of the strategy for EIA/SEA research. However, the two strategies should be co-ordinated as much as possible.


Table of Contents

Abstract

Acknowledgements

Table of Contents

List of tables

Executive Summary

1. Introduction

1.1 Aim of the Study

1.2 Methodology

1.3 Structure of this Final Report

2. Questionnaire preparation and Analysis of Responses

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Preparation of a Questionnaire

2.3 Analysis of responses Related to EIA Methodology and Practice

2.3.1 Screening in EIA

2.3.2 Scoping in EIA

2.3.3 Environmental factors for EIA

2.3.4 Environmental indicators for EIA

2.3.5 Uncertainty analysis in EIA

2.3.6 Definition and analysis of alternatives in EIA

2.3.7 Impact identification and selection in EIA

2.3.8 Prediction of impacts in EIA

2.3.9 Risk assessment in EIA

2.3.10 Evaluation of impacts in EIA

2.3.11 Mitigation measures in EIA

2.3.12 Compensation measures in EIA

2.3.13 Monitoring in EIA

2.3.14 Public participation in EIA

2.3.15 Techniques to review the quality of EISs

2.3.16 Influence of the quality of the EIS and of other components of the EIA process on the decision by the competent authority

2.3.17 Integration of EIA and socio-economic appraisal in the overall appraisal of the project

2.3.18 Computer software for EIA

2.4 Analysis of Responses Related to SEA Methodology and Practice 27

2.4.1 Screening in SEA

2.4.2 Scoping in SEA

2.4.3 Environmental factors and indicators for SEA

2.4.4 Uncertainty analysis at the PPP level

2.4.5 Definition and analysis of alternatives at the PPP level

2.4.6 Methods to predict the impacts of PPPs

2.4.7 Evaluation of PPP level impacts

2.4.8 Public participation in SEA

2.4.9 Techniques to review the quality of environmental statements for PPPs

2.4.10 Political and procedural problems in SEA

2.4.11 Integration of SEA and socio-economic appraisal in the overall appraisal of PPPs

2.4.12 Reasons for deficiencies in SEA methodology

2.5 EIA/SEA Priority Areas for Research as Resulting from the Responses to the Questionnaire

2.5.1 EIA priority areas for research

2.5.2 SEA priority areas for research


3. An Analysis of Key Documents Related to EIA and SEA Deficiencies

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Report on the Five Year Review of the Implementation of Directive 85/337/EEC

3.21 Objective of the report

3.22 Main deficiencies identified

3.3 Proceedings of the EU Workshop on EIA Methodology and research, Delphi

3.31 Objective of the Workshop

3.32 Main deficiencies identified

3.4 Report of the International Study of the Effectiveness of Environment Assessment

3.4.1 Objectives of the Study

3.4.2 Main deficiencies identified

3.5 Concise Update of the Report from the EC on the Implementation of Directive 85/337/EC

3.5.1 Objective of the update of the Report

3.5.2 Main deficiencies identified


4. Selection of EIA and SEA Priority Areas for Research

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Selection of EIA Priority Areas for Research

4.2.1 EIA areas which are given no priority, or low priority for research

4.2.2 EIA areas which are given high priority for research

4.2.3 EIA priority areas for research

4.3 Selection of SEA Priority areas for Research 58

4.3.1 SEA areas which are given no priority, or low priority

for research

4.3.2 SEA areas which are given high priority for research

4.3.3 SEA priority areas for research

4.4 Conclusions


5. Proposed Research Tasks

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Environmental Indicators for EIA

5.2.1 Background

5.2.2 Main deficiencies and research in progress

5.2.3 Proposed research tasks

5.3 Prediction of Impacts in EIA 68

5.3.1 Background

5.3.2 Main deficiencies and research in progress

5.3.3 Proposed research tasks

5.4 Monitoring in EIA

5.4.1 Background

5.4.2 Main deficiencies and research in progress

5.4.3 Proposed research tasks

5.5 Public Participation in EIA

5.5.1 Background

5.5.2 Main deficiencies and research in progress

5.5.3 Proposed research tasks

5.6 Influence of the Quality of the EIS and of Other Components of the EIA Process on the Decision by the Competent Authority

5.6.1 Background

5.6.2 Main deficiencies and research in progress

5.6.3 Proposed research tasks

5.7 Integration of the EIA and Socio-economic Appraisal in the Overall Appraisal of the Project

5.7.1 Background

5.7.2 Main deficiencies and research in progress

5.7.3 Proposed research tasks

5.8 Methods to Predict the Impacts of PPPs

5.8.1 Background

5.8.2 Main deficiencies and research in progress

5.8.3 Proposed research tasks

5.9 Political and Procedural Problems in SEA

5.9.1 Background

5.9.2 Main deficiencies and research in progress

5.9.3 Proposed research tasks

5.10 Integration of SEA and Socio-economic Appraisal in the Overall Appraisal of PPPs

5.10.1 Background

5.10.2 Main deficiencies and research in progress

5.10.3 Proposed research tasks

5.11 Link between EIA and SEA

5.11.1 Background

5.11.2 Main deficiencies and research in progress

5.11.3 Proposed research tasks

6. Support Measures

6.1 Introduction

6.2 Duration and Form of the Research Strategy

6.3 Funding of the research stratgy

6.4 Research Networking

6.5 Dissemination of the Findings of the Research Strategy

6.6 Co-ordination and Monitoring of the Research Strategy

6.7 Training


7. Conclusions

7.1 Introduction

7.2 Selected EIA/SEA Priority Areas for Research and Proposed Research Tasks

7.2.1 Selected EIA priority areas for research and proposed research tasks

7.2.2 Selected EIA priority areas for research and proposed research tasks

7.3 Support Measures

7.3.1 Duration and form of the research strategy

7.3.2 Funding of the research strategy

7.3.3 Research networking

7.3.4 Dissemination of the findings of the research strategy

7.3.5 Co-ordination and monitoring of the research strategy

7.3.6 Training

References

Appendices

Appendix 1. Questionnaire Used in the Study

Appendix 2. Respondents to the Questionnaire

Appendix 3. An inventory of Research Projects on EIA/SEA funded by National Organisations in the member States and by the EC Environment DG, Recently completed or in progress


List of Tables

Table 2.1 Environmental factors for which the number of available quantitative/ qualitative indicators is considered insufficient by the respondents

Table 2.2 Degree of respondents' agreement to proposed aim of research in order to improve the consideration of uncertainty analysis within EIA

Table 2.3 Degree of respondents' agreement to proposed focus of research in the area of impact identification and selection

Table 2.4 Need for further research and development of prediction methods on different environmental factors for certain types of projects, according to respondents

Table 2.5 Degree of respondents' agreement on main problems associated with impact prediction

Table 2.6 Environmental factors for which the available evaluation criteria are considered insufficient by the respondents

Table 2.7 Degree of respondents' agreement to proposed aim of research in order to improve the quality of evaluation criteria

Table 2.8 Degree of respondents' agreement to proposed aim of research in order to better understand the application and effectiveness of mitigation measures used in EIA

Table 2.9 Degree of respondents' agreement to stated main deficiencies with regard to monitoring in EIA

Table 2.10 Degree of respondents' agreement to proposed aim of research in order to improve the effectiveness of monitoring in EIA

Table 2.11 Degree of respondents' agreement to proposed aim of research in order to better understand the influence of public participation and to improve its effectiveness

Table 2.12 Degree of respondents' agreement to proposed aim of research in order to understand the influence of the quality of the EIS and of other components of the EIA process on the decision by the competent authority

Table 2.13 Degree of respondents' agreement to proposed methods to be used in the definition and analysis of alternatives at the PPP level

Table 2.14 Degree of respondents' agreement to suggested reasons to which the main political/procedural problems which have hindered the adoption/ implementation of SEA are due

Table 2.15 Degree of respondents' agreement to proposed aim of research in order to overcome the political and procedural problems associated with SEA

Table 2.16 EIA research areas: priorities as resulting from questionnaire

Table 2.17 SEA research areas: priorities as resulting from questionnaire

Table 3.1 Principal problems associated with the implementation of the EIA Directive in each Member State

Table 4.1 Main deficiencies identified in the questionnaire survey and in key documents for EIA priority areas

Table 4.2 Main deficiencies identified in the questionnaire survey and in key documents for SEA priority areas

Table 6.1 EC programmes which may fund EIA/SEA research projects

Table A2.1 List of respondents to the questionnaire

Table A.3.1.a Codes of EIA and SEA areas used in the questionnaire

Table A.3.1.b List of experts who assisted in the compilation of the inventory of EIA and SEA research projects, recently completed or in progress, funded by national organisations in the Member States

Table A3.2 Research projects on EIA/SEA, recently completed or in progress, funded by national organisations in Austria

Table A3.3.a Research projects on EIA/SEA, recently completed or in progress, funded by national organisations in Belgium-Brussels Region

Table A3.3.b Research projects on EIA/SEA, recently completed or in progress, funded by national organisations in Belgium-Flanders Region

Table A3.3.c Research projects on EIA/SEA, recently completed or in progress, funded by national organisations in Belgium-Walloon Region

Table A3.4 Research projects on EIA/SEA, recently completed or in progress, funded by national organisations in Denmark

Table A3.5 Research projects on EIA/SEA, recently completed or in progress, funded by national organisations in Finland

Table A3.6 Research projects on EIA/SEA, recently completed or in progress, funded by national organisations in France

Table A3.7 Research projects on EIA/SEA, recently completed or in progress, funded by national and state (Länder) organisations in Germany

Table A3.8 Research projects on EIA/SEA, recently completed or in progress, funded by national organisations in Greece

Table A3.9 Research projects on EIA/SEA, recently completed or in progress, funded by national organisations in Ireland

Table A3.10 Research projects on EIA/SEA, recently completed or in progress, funded by national organisations in Italy

Table A3.11 Research projects on EIA/SEA, recently completed or in progress, funded by national organisations in the Netherlands

Table A3.12 Research projects on EIA/SEA, recently completed or in progress, funded by national organisations in Norway

Table A3.13 Research projects on EIA/SEA, recently completed or in progress, funded by national organisations in Spain

Table A3.14 Research projects on EIA/SEA, recently completed or in progress, funded by national organisations in Sweden

Table A3.15 Research projects on EIA/SEA, recently completed or in progress, funded by national organisations in the UK

Table A3.16 Research projects on EIA/SEA, recently completed or in progress, undertaken at EU level and funded by EC Environment DG. (The Table includes a research project funded by EC DG VII, a research project funded by EC Research DG, the NATO/CCMS pilot study and the INTERAISE survey).