Important legal notice
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Environment and health
Environment and health - Healthy citizens in healthy surrounding
“Improving the implementation of environmental impact assessments in the EU, regarding human health, assessment of risks and the selection of projects”

The problem

The European Directive on environmental impact assessments (EIA) of those projects which are likely to have significant effects on the environment was enacted almost 20 years ago. The Commission evaluated its application and effectiveness and found various weaknesses, as well as considerable variability, in implementation by Member States, especially concerning the incorporation of human health into EIAs, the consistency of risk assessments regarding various sources of risks (natural hazards, accidents, sabotage, etc.) and large differences in the determination of thresholds/criteria for projects subject to EIA.

(IMP)3  Finding common ground on environmental impact assessments


Focusing on the different approaches of the application of EIA, (IMP)3 will set up various policy options

  • a better incorporation of human health aspects into EIA
  • an increase in the consistency of risk assessments regarding various sources of risks
  • a survey of thresholds according to Annex I, such as the documentation of the relationship between the two Annexes and their practical implementation

The analysis of the assessment of the application of EIA in these three fields is based on combined inputs of more than 180 experts across Europe via a questionnaires and detailed interviews, with another 50 EIA experts in Europe, the USA and Canada.

Contribution to policy development:

(IMP)3 provides a better understanding of EIA applications, taking into account the different interpretations of human health, risk assessment and threshold/project-types. It contributes to the improvement of EIA application throughout Europe by elaborating different policy options that could be taken in order to gain broader consistency in the fields of human health, risk assessment and the screening process. The strength and weaknesses, as well as the threats and risks, of each policy option are discussed.

Project deliverables

  • Detailed work plan – end May 2005
  • Preparation of the questionnaire and the interview guide – end May 2005
  • Workshop on project findings and draft recommendations – mid-September 2005
  • Presentation of results at a final conference in Vienna – 22 November 2005


  • Regular updates to the Commission – ongoing
  • Presentation to the EU EIA/SEA Expert group – 2 December 2004
  • Email newsletter sent to EIA stakeholders – 1 August 2005
  • EIA/SEA centres will receive the final report and results will be available to the public on the internet – 15 January 2006

Technical information

Project acronym: (IMP)3
Project’s official full title: IMProving the IMPlementation of Environmental IMPact Assessment
Research priority: 3.4. Forecasting and developing innovative policies for sustainability in the medium and long term
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 513738
Start date: 1 December 2004
Kick off meeting: 1 December 2004 
Completion date:30 November 2005
European Commission scientific officer: Marialuisa Tamborra,

Name: Austrian Institute for Regional Studies and Spatial Planning
Abbreviated name: OIR
Address: Franz-Josef-Kai 27, 1010 Wien
Country: Austria
Tel: +43 (0)1 5338747-11
Fax: +43 (0)1 5338747-66


Name: Federal Environment Agency Ltd
Abbreviated name: UBA
Country: Austria

Name: Velindre NHS Trust – Wales Centre for Health Business Unit
Abbreviated name: WCH
Country: UK

Name: The Nordic Centre for Spatial Development
Abbreviated name: Nordregio
Country: Sweden

Name: Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto Research Centre for Territory, Transports and Environment – CITTA
Abbreviated name: CITTA
Country: Portugal

Name: Slovak Environmental Agency
Abbreviated name: SEA
Country: Slovakia