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"Are We There Yet"? Assessing the Contribution of INSPIRE to EIA and SEA Studies

This paper reports the findings of a survey in 2009 of European practitioners who face problems related to accessing and using spatial data when preparing reports for Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs). The survey was designed to be comparable to the one undertaken in 2002–03 and reported by Vanderhaegen and Muro (2005). The 2009 survey showed that problems persist and additional costs to practitioners due to data access problems were at least €150 million p.a. in Europe, providing evidence for the need for ongoing investment in the INSPIRE Directive, which aims to support spatial and environmental data-sharing for EIA/ SEA studies as well as other environmental policies. The survey also indicated that although EIA and SEA reports now take less time and are, on average, cheaper to prepare, the variability of their quality is still of concern.