The effectiveness of EIA as an instrument for environmental governance: reflecting on 25 years of EIA practice in the Netherlands and the UK

Jos Arts, Hens A. C. Runhaar, Thomas B. Fischer (Lead / Corresponding author), Urmila Jha-Thakur, Frank Van Laerhoven, Peter P. J. Driessen, Vincent Onyango

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract

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 decisionmaking 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.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProgress in Environmental Assessment Policy, and Management Theory in Practice
EditorsThomas B. Fischer
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherImperial College Press
Pages171-210
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9781783268399
ISBN (Print)9781783268375
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016

Keywords

  • Strategic environmental assessment
  • Environmental assessment
  • SEA

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