What is Environmental Assessment
The central goal of environmental assessment is to ensure that environmental, and where required, social and economic information is incorporated in sound and well-balanced decision making.
The process involves:
- analyzing the likely effects and impact of the decisions
- organising public participation
- developing and comparing alternatives
- recording the impact, alternatives and comments from the public in a report
- taking the report into account when making the final decision
- informing the public about that decision
Important aspects concerning the process are:
- the quality of information. Can the information on likely effects be trusted?
- the transparency of the process. For example is it known who will be taking the decisions and when?
- stakeholder participation. Is the public indeed consulted? And are they informed in time on the plans and the process?
Environmental assessment can be undertaken on two levels:
- For individual projects such as a dam, motorway, airport or factory and then is called Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
- At moments strategic choices/ decisions have to be made for plans, programmes and policies (e.g. urban, provincial or national spatial plans) and then is called Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).
See also our pages on EIA and SEA in the Netherlands.
published: 1-3-2009 last edited: 3-7-2012 14:45:49