Mining project's economic impact on local communities, as a social determinant of health: A documentary analysis of environmental impact statements Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-05-25 Jessica Hresc, Emily Riley, Patrick Harris
Australian mining developments cause indirect economic impacts on nearby communities leading to poor health and wellbeing of local residents. Economic instability is a recognised social determinant of health (SDoH); however, SDoHs are rarely considered adequately in Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs). This research aimed to determine the extent economic impacts as a SDoH are considered in three Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) of mining projects in the New South Wales, Australia. We adopted an exploratory case study design following Yin (2012). Three cases in New South Wales, Australia, were purposively sampled as being of concern to the local community who had sought legal advice about the content of the EIS (although not necessarily for health reasons). Two were open cut mines: Watermark located in the Liverpool Plains and Warkworth Continuation in the Hunter Valley Region. The third is a comparative case – the underground Mandalong Southern Extension located in Lake Macquarie. We adapted a health-focused EIA coding framework to investigate how economic indicators as SDoH were explicitly mentioned in EISs and applied this to the three cases. Economic indicators as SDoH were rarely considered. There was a greater focus on population characteristics rather than the potential economic impacts of the mining projects on the communities. Causal association of economic determinants and health outcomes were insufficiently reported compared to best practice, and health data were not used to inform assessments. Despite two EISs – Warkworth Continuation and Watermark – associating some economic indicators to health outcomes, impacts were not adequately discussed when compared to the known literature on economic impacts of mines. Our findings show that the three EISs were inadequately utilised to determine economic impacts of mining projects on the health and wellbeing of local communities. The evidence base linking economic impacts of mines to health is underdeveloped, which compromises assessing the quality of economic coverage in EISs. EIA scoping should enable sufficient inclusion of broader determinants of health using appropriate methodology, and the economic-focused content of EISs should be subject to rigorous peer-review process to fully inform government approvals for projects. Our methods lend themselves to research in other contexts to investigate the quality of EIAs.
A comparative analysis on how different governance contexts may influence Strategic Environmental Assessment Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-05-26 Margarida B. Monteiro, Maria do Rosário Partidário, Louis Meuleman
This paper explores the relationship between governance contexts and the development and outcomes of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). The main objective of this paper is to understand if, and how, the governance context may influence the system and institutionalisation of SEA, and the capacity of SEA to reach its objectives. The research methodology is based on the comparison of six country-cases that have an established SEA system, including three European countries, two Asian countries and one in Latin American, with distinct national culture and political-administrative setting. Results show that cultural and institutional values impact how SEA is interpreted and carried out, and that SEA systems are facing constraints of a more normative and cognitive nature. Connecting governance contexts and patterns in the SEA systems confirm that SEA is not ‘context free’, but instead ‘context-influenced’, while its capacity is dependent on its level of adaptation to the governance environment.
Life cycle impact assessment of artisanal sandstone mining on the environment and health of mine workers Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-05-26 John Francis Agwa-Ejon, Anup Pradhan
Artisanal and small scale mining (ASM) is considered as a means to support and improve the quality of rural life, and is often the only activity that local communities have to sustain themselves. It is important to understand the nature of ASM and associated environmental effects in order to make informed decisions on the management, licensing and policy formulation of the ASM sector. Compared to other mined commodities such as, gold or diamond, the studies focusing on environmental and health impacts of sandstone mining are limited. This study used life cycle assessment (LCA) tool to evaluate the overall impact of artisanal sandstone mining (ASAM) on the environment and human health. The impact categories assessed in the study included: resource depletion, global warming, ozone layer depletion and acidification. It was observed that the impact of ASAM on the environment was minimal, however the high physical demand of the work negatively affected the health of the miners. The most common health related issues with the miners was observed to be silicosis and musculoskeletal problems. Fossil fuel used during transportation was observed to be the highest contributor for most of the impact categories.
Social life cycle assessment of concrete bridge decks exposed to aggressive environments Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-05-22 Ignacio J. Navarro, Víctor Yepes, José V. Martí
Sustainable design of structures includes environmental and economic aspects; social aspects throughout the life cycle of the structure, however, are not always adequately assessed. This study evaluates the social contribution of a concrete bridge deck. The social performance of the different design alternatives is estimated taking into account the impacts derived from both the construction and the maintenance phases of the infrastructure under conditions of uncertainty. Uncertain inputs related to social context are treated through Beta-PERT distributions. Maintenance needs for the different materials are estimated by means of a reliability based durability evaluation. Results show that social impacts resulting from the service life of bridges are not to be neglected in sustainability assessments of such structures. Designs that minimize maintenance operations throughout the service life, such as using stainless steel rebars or silica fume containing concretes, are socially preferable to conventional designs. The results can complement economic and environmental sustainability assessments of bridge structures.
Comparison of substitution status of chemical substances under REACH and OSPAR legislation Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-05-16 Georgie Anderson, Bob Rowles, Steven Supple, Claire Phillips, Roxana Sühring
The EU REACH Regulation (Registration, Evaluation, and Authorisation of Chemicals) was adopted in 2006 to regulate the human and environmental risks of chemicals in all applications and will be implemented by 2018. So far, the environmental risks from offshore chemicals in the North Sea have been regulated by the Harmonised Mandatory Control Scheme developed by OSPAR. Both the OSPAR scheme and REACH identify hazardous substances based on their persistence, bioaccumulation potential and toxicity (PBT), but the mechanisms employed are different. As a result, carrying out OSPAR's declared aim of harmonising with REACH where possible will not be straightforward. The presented research compared the assessment and classification of chemicals used in offshore oil and gas production under OSPAR and REACH. The aim was to establish the extent of commonality in classification between the two regulatory frameworks as well as their specific differences due to the different foci of REACH (human health and environment) and OSPAR (marine environment). These intrinsic differences in the assessment of PBT substances were identified as the main challenge in harmonising the two pieces of legislation. At the same time, the comparison of OSPAR and REACH assessments for offshore chemicals provided insight in the driving factors for observed differences between assessments and highlighted the benefits and need of having targeted legislative frameworks that focus on the protection of specific aspects of the environment.
Modelling golden eagle habitat selection and flight activity in their home ranges for safer wind farm planning Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-05-15 Hannu Tikkanen, Seppo Rytkönen, Olli-Pekka Karlin, Tuomo Ollila, Veli-Matti Pakanen, Heikki Tuohimaa, Markku Orell
Onshore wind farm development may impact vulnerable large eagles at both individual and population levels and requires appropriate assessment under the EU Bird and Habitat Directives. The present conservation policy (e.g. fixed safety zones around nest sites) improves species conservation but may not prevent habitat loss or reduce collision risk in the best possible way because this policy may not consider habitat-specific effects on eagle behaviour. Here, we develop a method for estimating habitat use and flying time distribution within Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) home ranges. Location data retrieved with GPS-transmitters (Global Positioning system) in Finland indicated that these large raptors used vast areas (mean 297 km2, 95% Minimum Convex Polygon), reaching up to 14 km, but not uniformly around their nests. The best resource selection function models (cross-validation performance 83%) revealed that flying Golden Eagles preferred the vicinity of their nests, steep slopes, and old forests in their home range. They avoided human settlements and neighboring territories. GPS data indicated short flying times per day (mean 2.2 h) and about 30% of the flying time within collision risk heights (50–200 m). Together with information on habitat selection, flying times can be used for predicting airspace use of birds and in assessing the collision risk at particular wind farm locations. Thus, our method can be applied in planning wind farm locations that enable a safer co-existence of large territorial birds and wind power plants in the same landscape.
Comparative review of EIA in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-05-11 Kanokporn Swangjang
Environmental sustainability is one of the frameworks for cooperation under the Declaration of ASEAN Concord II, 2015. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been recognized as a crucial tool. This paper proposes the review of EIA in ASEAN countries in three key areas, namely legal enforcement, implementation approach and EIA effectiveness as the basis for a sustainable approach. The results showed that almost all the countries established their EIAs at the legal level with the complete EIA process; however, the implementation was somewhat different depending on the unique characteristics of the EIA processes. Such unique characteristics can be divided into three groups. The first belongs to the countries that initiated the EIA process before 1990, although they have their own outstanding topography, namely, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. The second group includes the countries that applied the EIA after 1990. The Asian Development Bank has played an active role and their EIA processes have rapidly developed especially EIA monitoring, Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Transboundary Impact Assessment. The countries in this group are Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. The last group contains the countries with stringent environmental regulations and is becoming part of environmental laws. They include Singapore and Brunei. The tools to support the achievement of sustainability, such as ecosystem services, biodiversity offsets and transboundary impacts will be of prime importance to the ASEAN EIA in the future.
The discretionary power of the environmental assessment practitioner Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-05-09 Jie Zhang, Lone Kørnøv, Per Christensen
Discretion is an essential and unavoidable element of most decision-making and is thus often closely related to the judgment exercised by politicians and practitioners alike. It is evident that discretionary power can be executed in different ways, leading to different results. Therefore, it also has a significant influence on the effectiveness of the environmental assessment (EA) as examined in recent environment impact assessment (EIA) and strategic environment assessment (SEA) literature. However, limited attention has been given to the practitioners' role and how they exercise their discretion, while the effectiveness and implementation of decisions has been a recurrent theme in EA literature. This article explores the connections between discretion and some of the fundamental ideas behind how EIA and SEA function in our societies.Firstly, the article develops and presents a theoretical model of discretion, allowing us to explore the phenomena of discretion from four dimensions: source, form, value and dynamics of discretion. Secondly, a review of EA literature is performed with the purpose of mapping how discretion is studied and what kind of discretion is found in the context of EA – focusing on one of the dimensions – ‘source of discretion’. The results imply that it is prevalent for practitioners to exercise rule, value and task discretion in every choice they make at each stage of the EA implementation process, which influences EA effectiveness, either positively or negatively, depending on how discretionary power is exercised and reflected in EA practitioners' practice. It draws both the management's attention to how to regulate EA policies and the practitioners' attention to how to make a difference.
The nexus between water, energy, and food in the context of the global risks: An analysis of the interactions between food, water, and energy security Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-05-08 Wellyngton Silva de Amorim, Isabela Blasi Valduga, João Marcelo Pereira Ribeiro, Victoria Guazzelli Williamson, Grace Ellen Krauser, Mica Katrina Magtoto, José Baltazar Salgueirinho Osório de Andrade Guerra
The purpose of this article is to analyze the interactions between water, energy, and food security, referenced in this study as the nexus between water, energy, and food, and the impacts of global risks using the World Economic Forum's, 2017 Global Risks Report as a guideline. In this analysis, the authors reveal that water, energy, and food are interdependent and essential resources demanding sustainable, integrated and intelligent management. These vital resources are susceptible to many global risks which are maximized by extreme weather events, mass involuntary human migrations, and other hazards that predominantly endanger the vulnerable communities of less developed countries. In conclusion, policies carried out by the international community, decision-makers, civil society, and the private sector, must align to target and mitigate global risks, specifically, water, energy and food security.
Public participation in EIA: A comparative study of the projects run by government and non-governmental organizations Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-05-08 Md Arif Hasan, Kh Md Nahiduzzaman, Adel S. Aldosary
Assuring public participation in different stages of environmental impact assessment (EIA) is essential since the success of a project largely depends on its type, nature, and process. Before starting a development project in Bangladesh, both government organizations (GOs) and non-government organizations (NGOs) need to conduct an EIA. However, in most of the governmental projects, there is still no significant influence of public participation in EIA. Contrarily, under NGO administered projects, the systematic participation in EIA is quite unknown and often goes without being acknowledged. This paper, thus, studies public participation practice in EIA through an investigation of two NGO governed projects (i.e., BRAC's fisheries and sericulture project and CARE's integrated food for work program) and compares with two projects by GOs (i.e., Rampal coal-based thermal power plant project and Jamuna multipurpose bridge project) to critically understand the prevailing differences. As well, pivotal factors responsible for differentiated nature and type of public participation being practiced within a certain institutional context are examined. The study indicates that NGOs tend to ensure participation of the pertinent stakeholders at different stages of an EIA while harnessing their inputs to successfully complete a project. By contrast, public participation in government's run projects is mostly found to be carried out towards the end of an EIA exercise, which severely limits the stakeholders' ability to contribute and questions the legitimacy of such attempt. This process of neglect systematically overlooks stakeholders' concerns, critics, and suggestions while pre-emptive motive of the project gets glorified and implemented. By tapping these voids, this study attempts to offer an insightful understanding of the gap between conventional ‘practice’ and formal ‘pledge’ when comes to ensuring public participation in various stages of EIA. This study expects to benefit other countries where NGOs are considerably involved in development projects.
Power lines and impacts on biodiversity: A systematic review Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-05-07 Larissa D. Biasotto, Andreas Kindel
The growth of energy consumption demands a large expansion of transmission line (TL) networks worldwide. The reduction of the environmental impacts of these infrastructures will depend on the effectiveness of environmental impact assessments, that ultimately depend on the quality of the screening phase, the scoping phase, and the prioritization of potential environmental consequences. We conducted the first systematic review that encompasses all known potential impacts on biodiversity of the installation and operation of energy TLs, documented in the scientific literature and in a sample of Environmental Impact Studies (EIS). We examined 206 articles and 19 EIS and identified 28 impacts that correspond to biotic outcomes at the individual, population and community levels. Although scientific interest on TL impact evaluation is increasing, most studies have been focused on vertebrate taxa, especially birds. There are few published studies concerning habitat loss and the responses of functional groups with lower mobility or sensitive to physical alterations, such as amphibians. Most impacts appear in early stages of a project, during TL construction, but persist during operation. We summarized the biotic impacts in a framework that may guide the screening of relevant impacts to be included in the EIS and consequently improve the outcomes of the environmental licensing process of transmission line projects.
The role of time and social churn in impact assessment: An engagement-based model Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-04-30 Kim A. Johnston, Anne B. Lane
To participate in social impact assessments, members of a community need to understand both the nature and complexity of impacts at the individual and social level. This study considers the role of engagement in developing community understanding of social impacts by documenting and analyzing organizational and community actions and responses in the Adani Carmichael mine case. Findings suggest engagement facilitates the conduct of social churn. We define social churn as a process of collective level discussion, meaning-making, and consensus-building from multiple information inputs in response to equivocality or uncertainty resulting from organizational behavior, out of which is generated an articulation of community level perceptions of that organizational behavior and its impacts at an individual, community, and societal level. Theoretically, the findings of this study challenge traditional linear notions of social impact assessments and offer an alternative engagement-based model. Practically, the model identifies ways in which organizations can recognize and participate in the social processes that both create and represent the differing levels of social reality determining perceptions of those impacts.
Potential impacts of China's climate policies on energy security Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-04-27 Hongbo Duan, Shouyang Wang
Energy security, as an indispensable constituent of economic security, has long been a top research priority, and the dynamics of energy security become particularly complicated with the involvement of climate change. In this work, we combined a one-sector integrated assessment framework with a series of well-proposed energy security metrics to extensively explore the unidirectional consistency between climate policy and energy security from the national perspective. Implementation of climate policy is generally beneficial for improving energy security. Specifically, climate policy helps to reduce the systematic risk of China's energy system according to the metrics of energy (oil) intensity, energy (oil) expenditures and per capita energy (oil) consumption independent of time scale options. As observed from the perspective of energy diversity, co-benefits arising from climate policy primarily emerge in the first half of this century, and they may gradually decline as emission constraints and the phasing out of fossil fuels are enhanced. Additionally, the macroeconomic costs required to reach China's committed carbon-peaking target might be far lower than the costs required to fulfill the emission budgets under the global 2-degree warming rise threshold. If the co-benefits of energy security are considered, the economics of climate policy is expected to significantly improve.
Can urbanization process and carbon emission abatement be harmonious? New evidence from China Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : Xilong Yao, Dong Kou, Shuai Shao, Xiaoyu Li, Wenxi Wang, Chentao Zhang
As the largest carbon emitter and developing country in the world, China's rapid urbanization in recent decades plays a significant role in carbon emissions. However, there is still no consensus on whether urbanization process and carbon emission abatement in China can achieve a harmonious state. Based on the panel data of China's 30 provincial-level regions during 2001–2014, this paper uses the threshold regression model and the mediating effect model to investigate the effect and its mechanism of urbanization process on carbon emissions measured by three indicators: carbon emission scale, per capita carbon emissions, and carbon intensity. The results show that urbanization can contribute to declines in carbon emission scale, per capita carbon emissions, and carbon intensity. That is to say, urbanization can present an abatement effect on carbon emissions. However, such an abatement effect is diminishing with a deepening urbanization. Moreover, the relationship between urbanization and carbon emissions is mediated by four mediating variables, i.e., technological progress, industrial structure, energy consumption structure, and foreign direct investment. Therefore, a harmonious relationship between urbanization and carbon emission abatement can be achieved if policy-makers attempt to arouse the positive mediation roles of such factors when formulating relevant policies.
Decoupling relationship between economic output and carbon emission in the Chinese construction industry Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-04-24 Ya Wu, K.W. Chau, Weisheng Lu, Liyin Shen, Chenyang Shuai, Jindao Chen
By positioning in the discourse that economic output is always coupled with natural resource depletion, pollution, and carbon emission, decoupling analysis is widely adopted to evaluate how “quality” economic growth can lead to fewer such downsides so as to encourage sustainable development. This paper aims at examining the decoupling relationship between economic output and carbon emission by focusing on China's construction industry, which is a pillar industry for national economic growth, meanwhile contributes a huge amount of carbon emission. The method of Tapio decoupling model is used to examine the decoupling relationships at both national and provincial levels from 2005 to 2015. It continues to identify the driving force leading to a certain decoupling state by adopting the logarithmic mean Divisia index (LMDI). Results show that: (1) there existed an expansive decoupling relationship between economic growth and construction carbon emission in most provinces of China during 2005–2015; (2) Shanghai presented the best decoupling performance, while in contrast, other provinces such as Guizhou and Fujian displayed expansive negative decoupling state; and (3) “Economic output” played the most significant role in inhibiting the decoupling at both national and provincial levels, while “Indirect carbon intensity” was the main driver for promoting the national decoupling. Although the paper refers to the specific construction of China, the decoupling analysis approach can be extended to other countries as well as to other pollutants such as land pollution, waste water and haze. The understanding of driving forces for the decoupling state in China's construction industry provides international policy-makers with valuable reference for formulating effective measures to balance the dilemma between economic output and carbon emission.
Health Impact Assessment of transportation projects, plans and policies: A scoping review Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-04-14 Faiza Waheed, Glenn M. Ferguson, Christopher A. Ollson, James I. MacLellan, Lindsay C. McCallum, Donald C. Cole
Background Transportation has significant direct and indirect impacts on health beyond the physical effects due to change in air quality or noise levels. Health Impact Assessment (HIA) analyzes a project or policy through a broad health lens. However, the practice of HIA varies widely with significant knowledge and data gaps. Objectives We aimed to summarize the current state of transportation HIAs, develop a framework of promising practices recommended for HIA practitioners within the transportation sector, and identify knowledge and data gaps in transportation HIA practice and science. Methods This scoping review was designed using a systematic primary and grey literature search strategy to identify 158 transportation HIAs. Data extraction of descriptive and analytic information from the HIAs was completed and descriptive analyses conducted. Results Although transportation HIA practice varied within and between sectors and countries, there were some core similarities. Non-Governmental Organization funding of HIAs in the United States provided a significant boost to the HIA community of practice. We noted that most transportation HIAs conduct screening and scoping, but these steps were neither methodical nor clearly defined. Most HIAs included in this review also lacked quantitative assessment methods and did not perform evaluation of the HIA process or effectiveness. Conclusions This scoping review demonstrated a need for greater rigour and clarity in transportation HIAs. We recommend several practice changes to improve HIA quality and credibility.
Improving carbon footprinting of agricultural systems: Boundaries, tiers, and organic farming Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-04-19 Cornelius Adewale, John P. Reganold, Stewart Higgins, R.D. Evans, Lynne Carpenter-Boggs
Purpose The purpose of this commentary is to call for consistent and improved methodology for agricultural carbon footprint (CF) studies. Methods The methods of published agricultural CF studies were compared to identify areas of inconsistency. Organic agriculture has been proposed as an approach to reduce net agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and sequester carbon. Therefore we used organic agriculture as a focal system to explore the impact on CF estimates of using inconsistent boundaries, soil emission accounting, and emission factor (EF) tiers. Results and discussion Studies of agricultural CF use inconsistent boundaries and most use EFs based on national averages or regional models. As a result the local and farm-to-farm variability of EFs are obscured and the comparability of CFs from different studies is dubious. We propose three principles for agricultural CF calculation: use of consistent broad agricultural system CF boundaries, incorporation of soil emissions and sequestration, and development and use of fine-scale EFs for agricultural inputs. The potential use of organic practices in GHG mitigation efforts, along with the annual inspection process for certified organic farms, justify the future use of organic farms as a longitudinal national or international study population using the proposed principles. Conclusions Using different boundaries, or generalized vs. site-specific EFs, can give not only different levels of precision but also fundamentally different answers. Policy based on averaged data or incomplete estimates may be misdirected. To support effective policy and individual decision-making that reduce GHG emissions and/or sequester more carbon, accurate and consistent assessments of the GHG emissions of agricultural practices and systems at a finer temporal and spatial scale are needed.
Behaviour related flight speeds of Sandwich Terns and their implications for wind farm collision rate modelling and impact assessment Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-04-07 Ruben C. Fijn, Abel Gyimesi
Accurate quantification of flight speeds is a prerequisite to accurately predict the numbers of collision victims of proposed wind farms using collision rate models that are a vital part of Environmental Impact Assessments. We used GPS-loggers on Sandwich Terns to collect novel data on instantaneous flight speeds during foraging trips, separated for different behavioural stages, and applied these estimates in a widely used collision rate model. Average flight speed during a foraging trip corrected for individual variation and flight type was 36.9 ± 12.3 SD km h−1 and flight speed was highest during inbound commuting (44.4 ± 12.0 km h−1) and lowest during foraging (29.9 ± 10.7 km h−1). Our results show significant differences in flight speeds of Sandwich Terns between behaviour stages during foraging trips, which resulted in divergent estimates of collision victims due to wind turbines depending on the function of the area in which wind farms are proposed. Since these conclusions are likely to hold for many other bird species, we conclude that behaviour of birds in a proposed wind farm is a factor to take into account when modelling collision rates as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment.
Analysis of strategic environmental assessment in Taiwan energy policy and potential for integration with life cycle assessment Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-04-04 Yen-yu Wu, Hwong-wen Ma
Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) has been implemented in many policies in the European Union since 2001. In Taiwan, SEA has been implemented for 28 cases since 2001, which includes various types of policies. National energy policy is the most challenging type. There are three most important steps in SEA process: alternative planning, scoping, and impact assessment. However, the current limitation of method application affects the effectiveness of SEA. In this case, life cycle assessment (LCA) is integrated with SEA for clarifying the role of LCA in whole SEA process. The method of combining LCA and SEA has been developed and is applied in a case of Taiwan's energy policy. Benefits from LCA in alternative planning, scoping, and impact assessment steps are explored. Finally, suggestions for enhancing LCA's application, for scoping operation, and for the improvement of SEA are proposed.
Quantified economic and environmental values through Functional Productization - A simulation approach Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-04-03 Sean Reed, Magnus Karlberg, Petter Kyösti, Daria Sas
Industrial companies rely on hardware and services from external providers to deliver functions that are critical to their operations, increasingly demanding solutions that not only meet technical and availability requirements but are sustainable too. Traditionally, industrial companies choose and purchase hardware and maintenance support to fulfil their functional requirements. An alternative arrangement, known as Functional Product (FP), involves external providers supplying customers with the functionality they require through contracts that specify guaranteed functional availability whilst giving providers freedom to choose and retain ownership of the supplied hardware and services. This paper describes an innovative simulation modelling and optimization approach to quantitatively compare economic and environmental values resulting from transition from traditional to FP arrangements. The approach is demonstrated through the analysis of a scenario involving a hydraulic drive system provider and set of customers in Sweden, with the results exhibiting simultaneous improvement in economic and environmental values at each stage of the transition.
Sufficiently capable for effective participation in environmental impact assessment? Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-03-30 Nicholas Philip Simpson, Claudia Basta
Where environmental procedures do not adequately include affected parties in decision-making, particularly those from vulnerable and marginalized sectors of society, environmental justice cannot be realized. Further, the practice of EIA will likely perpetuate the negative and disproportionate distribution of environmentally associated harms on vulnerable persons. Thus, this paper explores the potential merits of the capabilities approach for establishing sufficiency grounds for public participation in environmental impact assessment (EIA). The paper identifies shared principles of justice in decision-making between the practice of EIA and the capabilities approach by highlighting key ethical and theoretical concepts of the latter as a means to fortify this weakness in the participation practice of EIA. Capability probes explore individual stakeholder's opportunity, ability and constraints to participation. The findings of four South African (EIA) case studies are discussed, highlighting the instrumental relationship between participatory actions, potentials and entitlements as they are mediated by empowering or disempowering procedural mechanisms. Cases exhibiting convincing stakeholder empowerment demonstrate the value of sufficient support for participatory achievement. Instances of disempowerment in the cases underscore the dangers of insufficient and inequitable participation. Reflecting on the findings, the work applies the recent notions of capability ‘sufficiency’ (Nielsen and Axelsen, 2016) to outline what can be delimited, and later contextually specified, for support provisions in EIA building towards more meaningful, and perhaps more just, public participation processes.
Effects of soundscape on rural landscape evaluations Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-03-26 Xinxin Ren, Jian Kang, Peisheng Zhu, Shiyuan Wang
Are current effectiveness criteria fit for purpose? Using a controversial strategic assessment as a test case Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-03-21 Jenny Pope, Alan Bond, Carolyn Cameron, Francois Retief, Angus Morrison-Saunders
The aim of this paper is to test the broader utility of the sustainability assessment effectiveness framework of Bond et al. (2015) by applying it to a controversial strategic assessment case study. The effectiveness framework comprises six dimensions: procedural effectiveness, substantive effectiveness, transactive effectiveness, normative effectiveness, pluralism, and knowledge and learning. It was originally developed to evaluate sustainability assessment at a system-wide level and it has not been previously applied to a specific case study. The analysis was conducted through document review and the first-hand experience of two of the authors who were involved in the case study in different capacities. The case study selected was the strategic assessment of the proposed Browse Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Precinct in Western Australia, which was conducted over the period 2007–2015 under the strategic assessment provisions of both the Western Australian and Australian Commonwealth environmental legislation. The framework provided a useful structure within which this complex case study could be explored, its strengths and weaknesses brought to light, and the interactions between the dimensions highlighted. We also found opportunities for refinement of the framework. As a result of this analysis we propose to replace the final three dimensions of the framework with legitimacy, where a legitimate process is one which all stakeholders agree is fair and which delivers an acceptable outcome for all parties, though we acknowledge the need for further conceptualisation of this dimension. We also suggest that the concept of substantive effectiveness should be expanded to incorporate the unintended consequences of impact assessment. Our research thus makes both a useful addition to the literature already published on the Browse case study, as well as to the literature on impact assessment effectiveness.
Preferences for a lake landscape: Effects of building height and lake width Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-03-16 Li Lin, Riken Homma, Kazuhisa Iki
Cities with lakes must balance the relationship between development and preservation of the natural landscape. Tall buildings are important in urban development, while landscape destruction and visual pollution caused by tall buildings have attracted more attention. Many qualitative or quantitative restrictions for building height have been designated along lakefronts. However, it is unclear whether the public accepts these restricted heights. This study aimed to assess the effects of building height and lake width on public preferences for lake landscapes. Two experiments were designed with two common lake scenarios. Three levels of building height crossed with three levels of lake width were presented in nine synthetic lake landscapes in each experiment, which were assessed by 50 participants using a psychological evaluation tool, namely the Affect Grid. The results showed that when lake width was within the Close View range with only trees on the other side of the lake, a lake landscape with the heights of buildings' visible part moderately less than average height of the trees contour was preferred over rigidly restricting that all buildings be barely visible. For lake landscapes with mountains in the background, it was found that a lake-wide threshold existed between 0.6 km and 1.8 km. Using this threshold, the Medium View range could be reclassified so that a lake width within this range might correspond to a particular type of building height restriction. These findings provide a reference for urban planners and suggest that lakes can be categorized on the basis of lake width and, in this category, building height can be restricted more appropriately.
A cradle-to-gate based life cycle impact assessment comparing the KBFw EFB hybrid reinforced poly hydroxybutyrate biocomposite and common petroleum-based composites as building materials Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-03-02 Seyed Meysam Khoshnava, Raheleh Rostami, Mohammad Ismail, Abdul Razak Rahmat
Aligning the sustainability in construction process can be achieved through material selection process with low impact on environment and human health. Today, biocomposite materials are investigated and developed to replace with none, and less eco-friendly materials used in the construction industry leading to emergence of next generation of sustainable and green building materials. This paper aims to develop a model of fully hybrid bio-based biocomposite based on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), and comparing it with fully petroleum-based composite, which are common conventional building materials. The methodology framework of this research is determined based on ISO 14040 and 14044. Also, the ReCiPe as the common method in SimaPro software is chosen for appraising and comparing LC impact assessment (LCIA). This research highlights the negative effect of these kinds of building materials with providing single scores coming from three gauges including Human Health, Ecosystems and resources. It is observed that substituting the biocomposite with the fully petroleum-based composite has led to a decline of about 30% in single score outcome. The significance of this research is related to important judgement information to policy makers and the prospective manufacturers in the commercialization phase of this new biocomposites as sustainable and green building materials.
Development blind spots and environmental impact assessment: Tensions between policy, law and practice in Brazil's Xingu river basin ☆ Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-02-20 Eve Bratman, Cristiane Bená Dias
This paper explores the tensions involved in Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and environmental licensing through a detailed analysis of the legal disputes and public contestations surrounding two projects, a large hydroelectric dam and a gold mine, which are proximately located to each other. Broadly, we argue that EIAs may function to reinforce rather than genuinely inform or potentially resist prevailing developmental logics. The research extends David Mosse's argument that development self-perpetuates “success” through participation and procedural licensing mechanisms while on-the-ground realities diverge significantly. It offers a critical examination of EIA utility and processes through identifying three general mechanisms within EIA and environmental licensing procedures that contribute to approval of projects and promote a perception of their legitimacy, while detracting from the intended purposes of EIAs as opportunities for meaningful public discussion and sustainability-oriented decision making. These mechanisms include discourses that entrench project necessity and make them appear inevitable, public participation, and the isolated treatment of related projects. This work situates an understanding of particular EIAs within a deeper process of regional territorial development and resource extraction.
A methodological approach to quantifying socioeconomic impacts linked to supply shocks Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-02-04 Juan C. Surís-Regueiro, Jose L. Santiago
Input-output models are commonly used to assess socioeconomic impacts. These models typically evaluate exogenous variations in demand-related elements; however, they do not fully capture the associated effects of backward and forward sectoral linkages simultaneously. An analysis from the supply perspective is of greater interest to economic sectors that exploit natural resources because their activity is subject to natural variations or political factors beyond the producers' direct control. This paper proposes a methodology to improve the estimation of the impacts of these variations or supply shocks. Within the methodological context of input-output analysis, a practical procedure is introduced including price mechanisms that allow us to consider all sectoral linkages (backward and forward). Therefore, the proposed method will improve impact assessments derived from supply shocks linked to environmental events.
Delays, stoppages and appeals: An empirical evaluation of the adverse impacts of environmental citizen suits in the New South Wales land and environment court Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2018-01-10 Andrew Macintosh, Phillip Gibbons, Judith Jones, Amy Constable, Deb Wilkinson
Environmental impact assessment (EIA) promotes considered and participatory decision-making, which can delay development and, at times, lead to projects being temporarily halted or permanently discontinued. Over the past decade, governments in a number of jurisdictions have proposed ‘streamlining’ reforms to eliminate perceived causes of unnecessary delays and stoppages. A target of these reforms has been environmental citizen suits (ECS): legal or merits-review proceedings initiated by private parties to uphold public environmental rights or interests for predominantly public purposes in order to generate public environmental benefits. This article reports the results of an empirical analysis of delays and stoppages attributable to ECSs in the NSW Land & Environment Court over the period 2008 to 2015. Key findings include: 109 finalised ECSs were identified over the period; 33 of the determined ECSs were successful (broadly defined); in 27 of the 33 successful ECSs, the activity that was the subject of the proceedings was subsequently approved or otherwise allowed to proceed; and the median major project delay caused by ECSs was 4.4 months. The results suggest the claims ECSs significantly hinder economic growth by delaying and stopping development are largely baseless. ECSs were relatively uncommon, rarely stopped development, and rarely caused major project delays.
Assessing direct and indirect emissions of greenhouse gases in road transportation, taking into account the role of uncertainty in the emissions inventory Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-12-27 Alessandra La Notte, Stefania Tonin, Greti Lucaroni
Greenhouse gas (GHG) concentration in the atmosphere has increased since the beginning of the industrial era, with dramatic effects on climate change. Transportation is one of the main sources of GHGs, with more than two-thirds of transport-related GHG emissions attributable to road vehicles. Any policy that aims to reduce GHG emissions needs robust measuring methods that guarantee the quality and reliability of primary data and estimates. However, these estimates are subject to uncertainty, both at the stage of compiling accounting tables and at the stage of using this information to formulate a specific policy question. This paper considers how to reduce uncertainty in estimating GHG emissions from road transportation, with specific reference to a regional emissions inventory in Italy. We propose the application of a use-chain model that can tackle uncertainty in measuring GHG emissions by enhancing the quality of the emissions data registry in the inventory. This new metric, which we call emission value at risk (VaR), draws from methodologies and concepts employed in the insurance and financial sectors. Moreover, additional assessments are performed, integrating the inventory data with those available in the regional energy balance and disaggregated sectoral economic dataset. The results show that a sound accounting method enables uncertainty in emission data to be taken into account, thus improving the design of appropriate strategies to reduce GHG emissions.
Life cycle assessment of an energy-economy nexus: The case of Israel and South Korea Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-12-15 Hojin Yu, David Pearlmutter, Moshe Schwartz
Israel and South Korea have both achieved rapid economic growth since their post-war establishment, and among the common challenges that the two countries have faced is a conspicuous lack of domestic oil supplies. Although this chronic energy scarcity has not impeded the economic trajectory of either country, it has influenced their industrial structures in strikingly different ways – with Korea nevertheless developing a vast energy-intensive manufacturing sector, while Israel has largely relied on its service sector to support a growing consumer society. While different in industrial structure, however, the two economies have been connected by intensive trade relations, meaning that energy is consumed in one country for the production of goods used in the other. In order to examine the economic and environmental implications of the two economies' structural divergence and bilateral trade relations, we use economic input-output analysis to track the life cycle (LC) energy consumption of passenger cars – a product which has significant environmental impact due to energy consumption in both its production and use stages – which were manufactured in Korea and exported to Israel during the period of 1997–2011. Our findings show that while most of the LC energy consumption of the vehicles occurs in Israel where the vehicle operation takes place, this does not mean that Israel's “avoided energy” by importing the Korean cars is insignificant. The embodied energy of vehicles traded in 2011 reached 3179 TJ, exceeding the amount of energy used by Israel's entire on-site building construction sector over the same period. If the Israeli economy had hypothetically developed its own auto manufacturing industry including secondary suppliers to meet domestic demand as well as exports – as was done in Korea – the energy consumption in those industries would be equivalent to about half of the current energy use by Israel's entire industrial sector.
Accessibility indicator for a trails network in a Nature Park as part of the environmental assessment framework Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-11-28 Nicoletta Setola, Luca Marzi, Maria Chiara Torricelli
On legitimacy in impact assessment: An epistemologically-based conceptualisation Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-12-01 Alan Bond, Jenny Pope, Francois Retief, Angus Morrison-Saunders
Impact assessment (IA) is carried out as an ex ante process to inform decision-making. It includes requirements for engagement with stakeholders (including the public) regarding actions proposed by a proponent. A key issue with the various stakeholders involved is the perceived legitimacy of the IA, which can have implications both for the reputation of the proponent, and the likelihood of conflict over the decision. But the understanding of legitimacy in the IA literature has changed over time in line with an ontological shift from positivism (that scientifically generated information leads to better informed decisions) to the post-positivist acknowledgement of the limitations of scientific method whereby assumptions must be subject to transparency, deliberation and openness. This has led to an epistemological shift towards greater subjectivism which, we suggest, has created new opportunities (which have been realised in political decision-making) to subvert knowledge through the increased use of the Internet and social media. To address the potential for such subversion of legitimacy, we seek to conceptualise legitimacy in the IA context through framing IA around a critical realist ontology and a reliabilist virtue epistemology. This allows us to identify ‘knowledge legitimacy’ as an equally important component of IA legitimacy along with organisational legitimacy. We conceptualise knowledge legitimacy through literature review drawing on rich understandings of knowledge from IA and other fields of research in order to develop a four-dimensional typology. This includes the dimensions of: knowledge accuracy; knowledge restriction; knowledge diffusion; and knowledge spectrum. This is the first theoretically grounded attempt to understand legitimacy in IA. It is hoped that it will provoke discussion in the IA community to further advance theoretical understandings of IA and legitimacy of practice.
Assessing changes in eco-productivity of wastewater treatment plants: The role of costs, pollutant removal efficiency, and greenhouse gas emissions Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-12-06 Germán Gémar, Trinidad Gómez, María Molinos-Senante, Rafael Caballero, Ramón Sala-Garrido
Improving eco-efficiency of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) has been identified as being essential for achieving urban sustainability. Several previous papers have evaluated the eco-efficiency of WWTPs using data envelopment analysis (DEA) models. However, those models provided only a static assessment in that they ignored possible fluctuations over time within each plant. To overcome this temporal limitation, this paper evaluates dynamic eco-efficiency (changes in eco-productivity over time) of WWTPs using the dynamic weighted Russell directional distance model (WRDDM). This approach allows one to obtain an eco-productivity change index for each major component of the WRDDM model (costs, pollutants removal, and greenhouse gas emissions). Our results illustrate that although eco-productivity improved in half of the WWTPs we assessed, there was still potential for improving some eco-efficiency components. Moreover, operational costs and greenhouse gases emissions were the main drivers reducing eco-productivity. This paper demonstrates the importance of evaluating change in eco-productivity over time and in identifying the drivers associated with those changes, both of which can be used to support decision-making focused on the sustainability of WWTPs.
Exploring pluralism – Different stakeholder views of the expected and realised value of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-12-07 Lydia Cape, Francois Retief, Paul Lochner, Thomas Fischer, Alan Bond
This paper explores the concept of pluralism by evaluating different stakeholder views on the expected and realised value of strategic environmental assessment (SEA). The research followed a single embedded case study approach (of a national-level SEA for renewable energy planning in South Africa) and engaged with four different stakeholder groups, namely government, industry, conservation groups, and interested and affected parties (IAPs). A total of 21 different value expectations (VEs) across all four stakeholder groups were identified. However, stakeholder groups contrast significantly in terms of VEs, with government concerned more with process and mandate; industry with cost, efficiency and certainty; conservation groups with data and technical aspects; and the IAPs with local scale issues. In terms of realisation of VEs the results suggest that SEA does provide opportunities for learning; focussing project level EIA and providing spatial guidance on the location of projects. However, SEA was less successful in realising integration of decision making and alignment of policy within government. Recognition and better understanding of the pluralistic nature of expected and realised VEs could potentially improve the legitimacy of SEA processes and methodologies if they are designed and implemented to accommodate pluralism.
Quantitative-qualitative assessments of environmental causal networks to support the DPSIR framework in the decision-making process Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-12-08 Fernando Ramos-Quintana, M. Laura Ortíz-Hernández, Enrique Sánchez-Salinas, Esmeralda Úrsula-Vázquez, José Antonio Guerrero, Montserrat Zamorano
The DPSIR framework helps to identify and situate stressors, drivers and pressure variables within a dynamic environmental process composed of cause-effect relations. However, an important aspect related to its structural deficiency implies the use of unidirectional causalities between variables. In this work, we extend the capacities of the DPSIR framework by addressing three important points. Firstly, causal networks are built instead of unidirectional causalities, the former based on paths represented by sequences of cause-effect relations between involved variables. These paths are derived from the population growth as a driving force variable, along with CO2 emissions, waste, water and loss of vegetation cover as pressure variables. Trends of these paths are combined to determine and quantitatively assess a global environmental state trend whose impacts on the environment require corrective management actions as a response. Secondly, quantitative assessments of environmental trends are transformed into fuzzy-qualitative data to facilitate their interpretation. Thirdly, a method based on weighted environmental management actions is presented to decision-makers who aspire to change current path trends in order to approach desirable scenarios similar to those put forth by the OECD outlook towards 2030. The results obtained applying this framework to the State of Morelos, México, show that it can be a useful support tool in the selection and monitoring of management actions capable of reaching favorable environmental trends.
A comparative method of air emission impact assessment for building construction activities Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-09-30 Malindu Sandanayake, Guomin Zhang, Sujeeva Setunge
Different construction activities may indicate distinct environmental impacts due to their uniqueness. Ability to assess and compare the environmental impacts from different construction activities can aid the process of minimising emissions at different building construction processes. The study presents a comparative impact assessment methodology to evaluate environmental impacts at different activities during the building construction stage. Significant impact related construction activities for five major impact categories namely global warming potential (GWP 100), acidification potential (AP), Eutrophication potential (EP), Photochemical oxidation formation potential (POFP) and Human toxicity potential (HTP) are compared from the global, regional and local perspectives. A case study of a residential building in Australia is used to demonstrate the application of the functions of the developed method. The results of the case study indicated that the method can be effectively used to compare environmental impacts of different construction activities at different geographical perspectives considered. The method can be used by designers and contractors in comparing impacts of various construction activities to identify the most emission effective construction processes.
Stakeholders' manipulation of Environmental Impact Assessment Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-10-12 Álvaro Enríquez-de-Salamanca
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process where several stakeholders take part, each with different interests, making bias unavoidable and a major cause of concern, but there is a big difference between inherent stakeholders' bias and manipulation, an illegitimate attempt to alter decisions for spurious interests. Although manipulation has usually been attributed to developers, any stakeholder may try to use it for self-benefit. In this paper we analyse manipulation possibilities, and how they can be used by stakeholders. While bias is unavoidable and should be reduced, understood and managed in EIA, manipulation is unacceptable and must be excluded.
Strategic Environmental Assessment, key issues of its effectiveness. The results of the Speedy Project Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-10-12 Donato Di Ludovico, Valter Fabietti
This paper describes the results of the European Speedy Project, concerning the application of cross-border SEA, a research that had two main objectives. The first has been the definition of cooperation modalities between various public body as well as private entity through the realization of a digital platform. The aims of this innovative platform include sharing of multidisciplinary knowledge, the training, the participation, etc. The second objective has been to draft a proposal for revision of Directive 2001/42/EC based on the criticalities of implementation in individual Member States emerged during the development of the project. This revision has taken, in the final research report, the form of problem areas and suggestions for amending the Directive. A particularly important result, in addition to those related to platform implementation and the SEA Directive revision, is the e-learning section of the same platform. The continuous training provision of the e-learning system, as well as providing a valuable support for professional upgrading, can provide a useful link between the experiences developed by territorial authorities or individual professionals and the construction of a disciplinary and technical corpus that meet new challenges arising from the changes in society and the evolution of the environmental system.
Evaluating EIA systems' effectiveness: A state of the art Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-10-19 John J. Loomis, Maurício Dziedzic
Analyzing the effectiveness of environmental impact assessment (EIA) is an important theme in EIA literature. Over the course of its development, the manifold term “effectiveness” has been delineated into four dimensions: Procedural, substantive, transactive, and normative. The present state of the art review covers not only studies about these concepts, but also the methods used to test them. It analyzes trends in 64 studies over a 20-year period. It is observed that results oriented research is more common than process oriented, but given the links between results and processes, procedural effectiveness remains the lens through which policy solutions are analyzed. Future research is recommended comparing developing and developed countries as well as studies focusing on subnational EIA systems. Serious gaps in the literature remain, such as developing methods to evaluate the direct impact of EIA on decision-making and how to integrate the pluralism found in the EIA process for sustainable ends. Reliance on perceptual survey and interview methods is common for substantive and normative effectiveness studies. The least studied dimension, transactive dimension, requires more study, specifically the cost efficiency of EIA. Promisingly, multidimensional studies are becoming more common that highlight linkages among these dimensions, although the nature of these linkages must be tested with more case studies
A methodological framework of eco-efficiency based on fuzzy logic and Life Cycle Assessment applied to a Mexican SME Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-11-01 Alfredo García Besné, David Luna, Abraham Cobos, David Lameiras, Hugo Ortiz-Moreno, Leonor Patricia Güereca
In this paper an eco-efficiency analysis methodology that takes into account Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and fuzzy logic is presented. It consists of four stages: (1) perform LCA and basic cost analysis, (2) normalize the environmental and economic impact categories results, (3) integrate economic and environmental impact categories by means of a fuzzy treatment and (4) obtaining the fuzzy eco-efficiency index. The result is a preference hierarchy that indicates an order of scenarios according to their degree of eco-efficiency. The methodology proposed is applied to a Mexican SME: a plastic products manufacturer. Six different supplier locations of polypropylene were considered: United States of America (transporting by land and by water), China, Singapore, Europe, and United Arab Emirates. The robustness of the methodological framework was tested by means of a comparative analysis with a decision surface graph, an eco-efficiency index, and random runs to prove their variability. Results show that USA is the most preferable supplier location when polypropylene is transported by land. The comparative analysis with the random series results and the decision surface graph, allowed to corroborate the stability of the fuzzy preference orders and to identify clusters of scenarios with an equally eco-efficient performance. Thus, the robustness of the methodology proposed was validated.
A contribution to the conceptualisation of quality in impact assessment Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-10-25 A. Bond, F. Retief, B. Cave, M. Fundingsland, P.N. Duinker, R. Verheem, A.L. Brown
Quality is much sought after in, and a basic foundation for, good impact assessment (IA). However, the term is rarely defined, has an uncertain relationship with IA effectiveness, and it means different things to different stakeholders, which can lead to debates over the legitimacy associated with an IA process. Thus, IA quality needs conceptualising to position research and practice within broader understandings. This paper contributes to this conceptualisation by identifying nine dimensions of quality through a process of literature review drawing on three fields of study in which quality and quality management have already been debated and conceptualised: education; health care; and business. This approach sidesteps the plural views on quality existing within the field of IA itself which might otherwise bias the identification of quality dimensions. We therefore propose that the dimensions of IA quality are: Efficiency; Optimacy; Conformance; Legitimacy; Equity; Capacity Maintenance; Transformative Capacity; and Quality Management. A literature review of IA research and practice confirms the relevance of the identified quality dimensions to IA. We identify, to an extent, the relationship between quality and effectiveness. Quality aligns with procedural and transactive effectiveness, partly aligns with normative effectiveness and is distinct from, but helps to deliver, substantive effectiveness.
Strategic health assessment for large scale industry development activities: An introduction Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-11-01 Patrick Harris, Francesca Viliani
Attention to the determinants of health and health equity in impact assessment remains under-utilised at the project, Environmental Impact Assessment, level. Determinants focussed health impact assessment has developed at an upstream, policy level, but tends to assess draft proposals rather than form the basis of policies and plans. Project level health (risk) impact assessment tends to focus on a project by project basis, and generally eschews a broad model of health. One answer to this ‘health and impact assessment’ problem is to shift attention to the strategic level, in a similar manner to, and learning from, the development of Strategic Environmental Assessment and its theoretical and practical derivatives. In this article we explain the need for this shift both conceptually and practically by navigating the literature. Our analysis derives specifically from developing the Strategic Health Impact Assessment section of new international industry HIA guidance, coupled with work in and around health impact assessment and policy analysis for the past decade. We develop characteristics of conducting strategic health assessments for multiple industry development activities at the supra national, national or regional level. Our intended audience are public administrators, industry planners and financial sector investors. A particular focus is low and middle income countries, now seen by industry as emerging markets.
Impacts of environmental exposure on thermal and mycological characteristics of insulation wools Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-11-01 Nicolas Dujardin, Vincent Feuillet, David Garon, Laurent Ibos, Mario Marchetti, Laurent Peiffer, Didier Pottier, Virginie Séguin, Dominique Theile
Fieldwork was conducted on 138 energy efficient buildings, to check if building site practices induced exposure to weather of thermal insulation. In nearly 80% of cases, insulation was exposed to weather due to insufficient protection. Therefore insulating wools were exposed, divided into three parts (control, exposure under shelter, exposure to weather). After the exposure period these samples were submitted to thermal conductivity measurements and infrared spectroscopy. A numerical study was carried out to evaluate the influence of weather conditions on thermal performance. Identifications of molds were realized by direct cultures of each sample. Mycological analyses provided the most significant results, showing a significant effect of exposure condition, with possible consequences in human health (toxinogenic, allergenic or pathogenic species) and material properties (cellulolytic species). Infrared spectrometry also showed some changes in sensitivity to water. These results show the interest to study in more detail the variations in the sensitivity, to moisture and mold, of insulation material throughout its ageing on site, and the interactions with the practices of the building process.
Systemising gender integration with rural stakeholders' sustainability impact assessments: A case study with three low-input upgrading strategies Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-11-01 F. Graef, L.E.A. Hernandez, H.J. König, G. Uckert, M.T. Mnimbo
Participatory action research across food value chains (FVC) can help stabilise the food security of subsistence farmers by implementing upgrading strategies (UPS). These strategies can be assessed ex-ante and ex-post for their potential social, ecological and economic sustainability impacts. UPS implementation, however, often entails gender-specific changes and challenges in a farmer's social life, economy and environment that either were not perceived and anticipated beforehand or are not followed up during UPS implementation. Before and during their implementation, therefore, UPS need to be entirely understood and assessed by both genders in terms of their potential social, ecological and economic sustainability impacts. This article conceptualises a systematic framework for integrating gender in sustainability impact assessments and presents gender-based assessment differences in three low-input UPS in Tanzanian FVC. We conducted ex-ante and ex-post impact assessments using nine food security criteria developed earlier by the authors following the Framework of Participatory Impact Assessment (FoPIA). Sustainability impact assessments—to a greater extent than expected—differed to various extents between the genders for a) different food security criteria, b) different sustainability dimensions (economic, social, and environmental), c) different points in time (T0, T1) of assessments, d) different implemented UPS, and e) different members within the groups of female and/or male stakeholders. The results demonstrate the substantial importance of integrating female-male segregated assessments and perceptions before and while implementing food-securing UPS. We anticipate that integrating these assessments and perceptions as regular components will lead to better gendered social learning for both scientists and stakeholders and a holistic understanding of complex local food systems.
Index system of urban resource and environment carrying capacity based on ecological civilization Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-11-14 Mo Zhang, Yiming Liu, Jing Wu, Tiantian Wang
‘Ecological Civilization’ is a Chinese characteristic concept. It is an important pathway for China to achieve sustainable development and has become a key strategy to address China's serious resource and environmental issues. To solve the disparity between resources and the environment, an index system of urban resource and environment carrying capacity (URECC) based on ecological civilization should be established. This study explored the new connotations of URECC, and constructed an evaluation index system that contains 18 indicators selected from water carrying capacity, land carrying capacity, atmospheric environmental carrying capacity, energy carrying capacity, and environmental carrying capacity of solid waste. The index system fully embodies the supporting and restraining function to resources and environment for human development and reflects the dynamic change of URECC. We used URECC of Tianjin from 2007 to 2015 as a case study. The results reveal that the index system is not only able to reflect the current status of URECC, but also reflects the changes of increment to the original carrying capacity, so that economic and social development can be constrained within URECC. It provides a reference for future research on the carrying capacity index system of the city, and also has important practical significance to guide the sustainable development of the city.
Including health in environmental impact assessments of three mega transport projects in Sydney, Australia: A critical, institutional, analysis Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-10-12 Patrick Harris, Emily Riley, Peter Sainsbury, Jennifer Kent, Fran Baum
This article details how health impacts came to be assessed in three mega, billion dollar, transport infrastructure projects, two road tunnels and one light rail, in Sydney Australia. The known health impacts of transport decisions include environmental, behavioural and social factors. EIA practice prioritises environmental risks, and there has been scant attention to understanding why this is persistently the case. Here we provide a critical theory lens, using critical realist methodology, to analyse empirical data collected through interviews and documents for the three cases. Our analysis focusses on EIA practice within its institutional context, building on ‘new institutional’ approaches to policy analysis that emphasise actors (the stakeholders involved in the EIA), structures (the ‘rules of the game’ that influence practice in systems), and power. We find that the various actors engaged in the EIAs principally to address particular goals that were pre-determined by the system in which they worked or belonged. Structurally, each EIA was undertaken as a compliance process relatively late in the planning process. Considering project options was not part of the EIA's purpose. Resources to undertake the EIAs were provided by those funding the projects (“the proponents”) and determined the types of issues to be considered. The full range of links between transport and health were not identified. Concerning power, health impacts were considered through inter-professional technical negotiation. The inability to engage in the fundamental options driving projects meant impacted communities questioned the validity of the EIA, and the health assessment within this. Our institutional analysis provides important knowledge about how the EIAs preferenced a focus on specific health risks to the detriment of the known broader determinants that shape the health impacts of transport.
Use of significance thresholds to integrate cumulative effects into project-level socio-economic impact assessment in Canada Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-07-29 Chris Joseph, Taylor Zeeg, David Angus, Anna Usborne, Erin Mutrie
A longstanding critique of project-level environmental assessment is that it is weak at addressing cumulative effects, and because of this many argue that cumulative effects are best managed at a regional scale. However, in the absence of regional management it is important that project-level assessment supports cumulative effects management as best as possible. In this paper we present case study socio-economic impact assessments of liquefied natural gas development on Aboriginal groups on Canada's west coast. The case studies use an analytical structure modified from typical Canadian practice including unambiguous and non-arbitrary significance thresholds grounded in stakeholder values to focus baselines, impact assessment, and significance determination on cumulative effects. This approach is found to be more capable of informing decision-makers on cumulative effects as well as more rigorous and transparent than typical assessments. Much of this approach is not conceptually new, but at least in western Canada such an approach is not typically used or meaningfully implemented by practitioners. As such, the case studies serve to illustrate how practice can bolster project-level assessment.
Towards a framework for the assessment of saltwater intrusion in coastal aquifers Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-08-17 G. Rachid, M. El-Fadel, M. Abou Najm, I. Alameddine
Digital archives, big data and image-based culturomics for social impact assessment: Opportunities and challenges Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-08-20 Kate Sherren, John R. Parkins, Michael Smit, Mona Holmlund, Yan Chen
Social impact assessment (SIA) is well-established but uses conventional approaches that have become less effective in recent decades, particularly in relation to declining survey response rates and a lack of youth engagement. Images from digital archives and social media sources are poised to advance the research and practice of SIA by transcending text-based methods with insights into changing landscapes, and human engagement with them. This viewpoint describes progress, challenges and cautions toward the development of such tools (defined as culturomics), using hydroelectricity cases to illustrate potential approaches. These tools build on foundational work in a range of disciplines, including the humanities and computer science. We describe necessary advances in machine learning, image digitization, and data aggregation and visualization techniques, as well as ways to ensure that such tools are carefully tested, applied and interpreted. Challenges include the automation, acquisition and management of datasets, and using these tools appropriately and equitably. Critically, culturomics of any kind must not be used as a replacement for engagement with people, but as complementary to inclusive stakeholder engagement.
Analysis of the decision-support function of policy assessment in real-world policy making in the field of poverty and social inequalities. Case study on migrant integration policies in the Brussels-Capital Region Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-09-06 Gille Feyaerts, Murielle Deguerry, Patrick Deboosere, Myriam De Spiegelaere
Despite its high potential to support decision-making, the role of policy assessment in real-world policy making in the field of poverty and social inequalities remains largely questioned. In this study, we analyse policy assessment's role in a context of real-world policymaking, by means of a case study on a legislative proposal on integration policy for immigrant newcomers in the Brussels-Capital Region, for which we evaluate the potential effects on poverty and social inequalities. We first analyse the policy process surrounding the policy proposal – a process that is often treated as a black box within policy assessment research. Understanding the factors that influence and determine the decision-making process, enables us to gain insight into the potential decision-support function(s). Second, we develop an approach to policy assessment that aims to fully exploit its potential to contribute to the functions of both instrumental and conceptual learning. For this purpose, we propose to introduce the approach of realist evaluation and to focus on evaluating the underlying policy intervention theory from the perspective of poverty and social inequalities. Finally, we illustrate this new approach and its added value by applying it to the legislative proposal on integration policy and analyse its contribution to policy-oriented learning.
Healthcare Building Sustainability Assessment tool - Sustainable Effective Design criteria in the Portuguese context Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-09-06 Maria de Fátima Castro, Ricardo Mateus, Luís Bragança
Tools and methods to improve current practices and quality in the healthcare building sector are necessary to support decision-making at different building life cycle phases. Furthermore, Healthcare Building Sustainability Assessment (HBSA) Methods are based on criteria organised into different levels, such as categories and indicators. These criteria highlight aspects of significant importance when designing and operating a sustainable healthcare building. To bring more objectivity to the sustainability assessments, the standardisation bodies (CEN and ISO) proposed core indicators that should be used in the evaluation of the environmental, societal and economic performances of buildings. Nevertheless, relying on state of the art analysis, it is possible to conclude that there are aspects of major importance for the operation of healthcare buildings that are not considered in the HBSA methods. Thus, the aim of this paper is to discuss the context of sustainability assessment methods in the field of healthcare buildings and to present a proposal for the incorporation of Sustainable-Effective Design (SED) criteria in a new HBSA method. The used research method is innovative since in the development of the list of sustainability criteria it considers the opinion of main healthcare buildings' stakeholders, the existing healthcare assessment methods and the ISO and CEN standardisation works in the field of the methods to assess the sustainability of construction works. As a result, the proposed method is composed of fifty-two sustainability indicators that cover the different dimensions of the sustainability concept to support decision making during the design of a new or retrofitted healthcare building in urban areas.
Assessing the social sustainability contribution of an infrastructure project under conditions of uncertainty Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-09-07 Leonardo A. Sierra, Víctor Yepes, Eugenio Pellicer
Assessing the viability of a public infrastructure includes economic, technical and environmental aspects; however, on many occasions, the social aspects are not always adequately considered. This article proposes a procedure to estimate the social sustainability of infrastructure projects under conditions of uncertainty, based on a multicriteria deterministic method. The variability of the method inputs is contributed by the decision-makers. Uncertain inputs are treated through uniform and beta PERT distributions. The Monte Carlo method is used to propagate uncertainty in the method. A case study of a road infrastructure improvement in El Salvador is used to illustrate this treatment. The main results determine the variability of the short and long-term social improvement indices by infrastructure and the probability of the position in the prioritization of the alternatives. The proposed mechanism improves the reliability of the decision making early in infrastructure projects, taking their social contribution into account. The results can complement environmental and economic sustainability assessments.
Adapting social impact assessment to address a project's human rights impacts and risks Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-09-08 Ana Maria Esteves, Gabriela Factor, Frank Vanclay, Nora Götzmann, Sergio Moreira
We address the weaknesses inherent in the social risk assessments undertaken for business, especially in the extractive industries. In contrast to the conventional approach that considers consequence to the company rather than to impacted communities, conformance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights requires that consequence to affected communities has precedence. In order for social risks to be properly assessed, we consider that: companies need to know and understand the human rights impacts of their activities; contemporary approaches to project impact and risk assessment need to be adapted to consider human rights; and environmental impact assessment (EIA) and social impact assessment (SIA) methods need to be adapted to give greater attention to impacts on human rights. Using an example from the mining, oil and gas sector, we provide a method that differentiates social risks from business risks, and we position impact assessment as an instrument that actively facilitates the improved identification, analysis and management of social risks. Practical adaptations to SIA activities and risk assessment processes are provided. Taking human rights impacts into account and using the dimensions of gravity, extent, vulnerability and remediability, we nominate criteria to assess the significance of negative social impacts.
Including biodiversity in life cycle assessment – State of the art, gaps and research needs Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-09-08 Lisa Winter, Annekatrin Lehmann, Natalia Finogenova, Matthias Finkbeiner
Purpose For over 20 years the feasibility of including man-made impacts on biodiversity in the context of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been explored. However, a comprehensive biodiversity impact assessment has so far not been performed. The aim of this study is to analyse how biodiversity is currently viewed in LCA, to highlight limitations and gaps and to provide recommendations for further research. Method Firstly, biodiversity indicators are examined according to the level of biodiversity they assess (genetic, species, ecosystem) and to their usefulness for LCA. Secondly, relevant pressures on biodiversity that should be included in LCA are identified and available models (in and outside of an LCA context) for their assessment are discussed. Thirdly, existing impact assessment models are analysed in order to determine whether and how well pressures are already integrated into LCA. Finally, suggestions on how to include relevant pressures and impacts on biodiversity in LCA are provided and the necessary changes in each LCA phase that must follow are discussed. Results The analysis of 119 indicators shows that 4% of indicators represent genetic diversity, 40% species diversity and 35% ecosystem diversity. 21% of the indicators consider further biodiversity-related topics. Out of the indicator sample, 42 indicators are deemed useful as impact indicators in LCA. Even though some identified pressures are already included in LCA with regard to their impacts on biodiversity (e.g. land use, carbon dioxide emissions etc.), other proven pressures on biodiversity have not yet been considered (e.g. noise, artificial light). Conclusion Further research is required to devise new options (e.g. impact assessment models) for integrating biodiversity into LCA. The final goal is to cover all levels of biodiversity and include all missing pressures in LCA. Tentative approaches to achieve this goal are outlined.
The attractive concept of simplicity in environmental impact assessment: Perceptions of outcomes in southeastern Brazil Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-09-15 Alberto Fonseca, Sander Elias Rodrigues
Pressures are mounting for the simplification of environmental impact assessment (EIA). This phenomenon is drawing increasing scholarly attention, but studies have not gone far beyond speculating what could happen as a result of recently implemented or proposed regulatory changes. This paper takes a more longitudinal look at simplified EIAs. The main objective was to analyze the perceived outcomes of a number of simplified EIA processes, using Brazil as the empirical context. More specifically, this paper aimed at understanding: 1) how simplified EIAs have been conceptualized and implemented in southeastern Brazil; and 2) how developers and civil servants in that region perceive the outcomes of simplified EIAs. This study adopted a sequential mixed method research approach. Data was collected through literature reviews, 261 telephone-based interviews and 10 face-to-face interviews. Degrees of EIA simplification can vary significantly within and across jurisdictions. In any case, simplification is often framed as a win-win solution to EIA ineffectiveness, through which regulatory and procedural changes are made to ease the process, while, at the same time, maintaining or providing better environmental protection. This approach is more frequently applied to potentially low-impact processes. Chi-square tests of the data collected through telephone interviews in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais indicated that developers tend to perceive EIA processes as difficult and slow regardless of how simplified it is. Most civil servants, who were directly involved in the implementation of simplified EIAs in state environmental agencies, argued that simplified EIAs are driven mostly by environmental agencies, as these institutions have long been unable to cope with an ever-increasing load of license applications. Policy outcomes of simplified EIAs in the territory are not sufficiently monitored by state agencies. Civil servants revealed concerns about the potential long term effects of EIA simplification on the ground, as they have had limited resources for audits and inspections.
Life cycle impact assessment of home energy management systems (HEMS) using dynamic emissions factors for electricity in Finland Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-09-19 Jean-Nicolas Louis, Eva Pongrácz
Decarbonising the European economy is a long-term goal in which the residential sector will play a significant role. Smart buildings for energy management are one means of decarbonisation, by reducing energy consumption and related emissions. This study investigated the environmental impacts of smart house automation using life cycle impact assessment. The ReCiPe method was selected for use, in combination with dynamic emissions factors for electricity in Finland. The results indicated that a high level of technology deployment may be counter-effective, due to high electricity consumption by the sensor network, automation system and computing devices. The results also indicated that number of inhabitants per household directly affected the environmental impacts of home automation. A single-person household saw its environmental impacts increase by 15%, while those of a five-person household increased by 3% in the worst-case scenario. The manufacturing phase contributed the major share of environmental impacts, exceeding the use phase in multiple categories. These findings indicate that finding the sweet spot in which technology can promote decarbonisation will be crucial to achieving the goal of a low‑carbon economy.
Land take and the effectiveness of project screening in Environmental Impact Assessment: Findings from an empirical study Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-09-22 Davide Geneletti, Alessandro Biasiolli, Angus Morrison-Saunders
EIAMUO methodology for environmental assessment of the post-war housing estates renovation: Practical application in Seville (Spain) Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-09-26 Julia Garrido-Piñero, Pilar Mercader-Moyano
High speed rail comparative strategic assessments in EU member states Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-06-08 Sofia Carvalho, Maria Partidario, William Sheate
This paper explores the role and capacity of strategic level assessments in addressing the strategic dimension of High Speed Rail (HSR) proposals and influencing decision-making processes. The overall research objective was to find out to what extent opportunities for strategic thinking are being undertaken in HSR. Three different cases of high speed rail were compared – High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) in the UK, High Speed Rail Network (RFAV) in Portugal and European Gauge Railway Line Kaunas in the Lithuanian-Latvian Border (Rail Baltica 2). Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) effectiveness literature was reviewed to draw on criteria that could establish a comparative framework to explain how environmental and sustainability assessments were undertaken in the three aforementioned European high speed rail case studies. Research results allow us to conclude that an SEA or a sustainability assessment/appraisal (SA) will be most beneficial if developed before any HSR project to first determine if HSR is really necessary and strategically justifiable to the achievement of both environmental and sustainability objectives. Results achieved suggest that even though the SEA and SA in the three cases studied can be said to have influenced the planning process mostly at project-level decisions, it also shows a missed opportunity to contribute to developing a high level strategy for HSR that addresses several strategic issues, assessing options before they are undertaken.
Fragmentary provisions for uncertainty disclosure and consideration in EA legislation, regulations and guidelines and the need for improvement Environ. Impact Assess. Rev. (IF 3.094) Pub Date : 2017-06-08 Olena Pavlyuk, Bram F. Noble, Jill A.E. Blakley, Jochen A.G. Jaeger
The consideration and disclosure of uncertainties is fundamental to a credible EA process, but little is known about the nature and type of requirements and guidance available to proponents, practitioners and decision makers about how to deal with uncertainties. This paper examines the provisions for considering and disclosing uncertainties in EA. Methods are based on a comparative review of uncertainty provisions in EA legislation, regulations and guidance documents under Canadian federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions. Results show 10 types of provisions applied at different stages of the EA process with considerable jurisdictional variability and incoherence. The most common provision was that decision makers can request that project proponents provide more information, followed by the preparation of contingency plans, and that practitioners document their assumptions about data reliability. Most of these provisions were found in guidelines, versus legislation or regulations; and most addressed impact management, with very few provisions for addressing uncertainty during EA review and decision making. Current practices of uncertainty (non)disclosure and (non)consideration in EA can be explained, in part, by the superficial nature and limited extent of the requirements and guidance made available to EA practitioners, proponents, and decision makers. The existing requirements placed on proponents and practitioners to disclose and consider uncertainties are necessary, but insufficient. Stronger, more coherent and transparent requirements for those tasked with EA review and decision making to consider uncertainty information when disclosed, and the development of practical guidance on how to do so, are needed.
Some contents have been Reproduced by permission of The Royal Society of Chemistry.
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