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Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP)

Environmental Assessment

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This  module begins by examining the means of anticipating the environmental effects of a proposed action. Before the module goes into any detail, the first part of Unit 1 provides essential background information on environmental impact assessment (EIA) including definitions, the background and history of EIA and an overview of the different stages of the actual EIA process. These stages are dealt with in more detail in the latter half of Unit 1. Features of EIA are described in Units 2, 3 and 4 which look at aspects of EIA including:

  • procedures and EIA methods
  • public involvement in EIA
  • strategic environmental assessment

The module then indicates how impacts on specific environmental parameters may be assessed. Units 5, 6, 7 and 8 respectively look at the assessment of impacts upon the physical environment, for example water, air and land and ecology and humans.

Two aspects of EIA that are invariably left out or ignored within the EIA process are the consideration of cumulative effects and alternatives. Both these topics are dealt with in Unit 9. Finally, Unit 10 looks in detail at the legal aspects of environmental assessment law including UK and EU regulations, case law and case studies.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • define environmental impact assessment and describe the main stages of the environmental impact assessment process;
  • describe how EIA is implemented in a range of countries;
  • apply a range of methods to various stages of the EIA process;
  • identify how impacts on specific environmental parameters may be assessed; and
  • apply practical environmental impact assessment skills to the assessment of a proposed project.

Scope and syllabus

Unit 1 Introduction to environmental impact assessment (EIA)
Unit 2 EIA procedures and methods
Unit 3 Public involvement in EIA
Unit 4 Strategic environmental assessment
Unit 5 Impacts on the physical environment: water, air and land
Unit 6 Assessment of ecological impacts
Unit 7 Assessment of impacts on humans I
Unit 8 Assessment of impacts on humans II
Unit 9 Cumulative effects assessment (CEA), consideration of alternatives in EIA and EIS review
Unit 10 Environmental impact assessment law

Module sample

P507 module uses a core text which is specially written and will take you through your self-directed study. Exercises, assignments and other activities, such as self-assessment questions, film clips and animations are included to help you with learning. Most module study guides are now provided in electronic format on a USB flash memory stick, but can also be downloaded from the online learning environment. Click the linked image below to view a sample of our e-study guide: