Environmental Impact Assessments

  • Mark Everard
Reference work entry


Environmental impact assessment (EIA) is a formal process used to predict environmental consequences, which may be positive or negative, of a plan, policy, program, or project prior to approval. The International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) defines an environmental impact assessment as “…the process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made.” EIAs should contain proposals for scheme design or operation to reduce these impacts to acceptable levels or to address different technical solutions. “Acceptable levels” is a contested and political concept, though the purpose of an EIA is to inform better decision-making by bringing wider environmental concerns into consideration alongside economic, social, and political concerns.


Environmental impact statement Environmental assessment Biodiversity Vulnerabilities Cumulative imact Buffer zone 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Water Security Network, University of the West of EnglandBristolUK

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