The European Union (EU) Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive which was introduced some 25 years ago has had a major impact on decision-making practices in EU member states. In the professional literature, this impact has mostly been discussed under the heading of "effectiveness", with an emphasis being given in particular to procedural elements. The extent to which EIA has contributed to objectives, such as raising environmental awareness and leading to an incorporation of environmental values in decision-making has only been rarely investigated. This paper reflects on these latter two aspects of EIA effectiveness in two EU member states; the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Empirical evidence was compiled mainly on the basis of a comprehensive literature review and online surveys with EIA professionals in both countries. Our results indicate that overall the instrument is about equally effective in both countries with regards to the incorporation of environmental concerns in decision-making. As both countries have different governance mechanisms, further research is needed on why perceived effectiveness does not differ more.
- Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
- United Kingdom