MITIGATION IS THE HEART OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT PROCESS
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16-10-2010, 02:23 PM
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"MITIGATION IS THE HEART OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT PROCESS" BUT IS THE ENGLISH EIA SYSTEM EFFECTIVE AT ENSURING THAT MITIGATION MEASURES ARE PUT IN PLACE? AN ASSESSMENT, USING EISs FROM FIVE COUNTIES
One of the main aims of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process is the mitigation of negative environmental impacts (Wood, 2003). Although a variety of mitigation measures may be proposed in an environmental impact statement (EIS), they must be implemented if environmental impacts are to be successfully addressed. Under the English planning system the implementation of measures to protect the environment can be secured by planning conditions and obligations. However, the EIS is only one factor which is used in the formulation of planning controls, and it is unlikely that all the mitigation measures proposed in an EIS will be converted into conditions or obligations (DETR, 1997).
This study statistically and graphically analysed details from 40 planning applications in five counties to assess the conversion of mitigation measures to planning controls. A high proportion of measures were found to be uncovered by conditions or obligations, and thus potentially not implemented. Other factors were shown to be important in the formulation of planning controls. Planning practice varied between counties and development types, and was affected by the environmental aspect studied. Guidance on mitigation and planning had not significantly affected the process. Several recommendations are made to improve the coverage of mitigation measures, including the use of environmental management plans.