A Review of Environmental Impact Assessment and the Influence upon the Minerals Industry

  • Mary Foley

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    Over the years Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has evolved to meet an increasing need for a comprehensive system of environmental protection whereby development in general and minerals extraction in particular, must be balanced with environmental considerations.

    The history of environmental protection can be traced back over several centuries, but the specific EIA process, as we know it, has its roots in the United States of America's National Environmental Protection Act of 1969. This was the first piece of legislation to lay down specific guidelines, a structured format and to define the terminology which is currently in use.

    The next major step occurred with the European Economic Community's Environmental Action Programmes, which eventually lead to the EEC Directive 85/337: The Assessment of the Effects of Certain Public and Private Projects on the Environment. This Directive was then implemented into the United Kingdom's planning system by the Town and Country Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1988.

    Once the legislative framework had been initiated, attention began to focus on the actual EIA process itself. Specific methodologies and techniques were developed, adapted and enhanced in order to facilitate the carrying out of EIAs. The modification process is still ongoing.

    Once the tangible end results of the EIA process, the Environmental Impact Statements, began to be published, they formed the basis upon which the success of the process could be examined.

    Environmental Impact Statements for minerals developments were closely scrutinised for ways in which to improve and update the process within a minerals context and on the basis of these findings recommendations were made in order to achieve these improvements.

    It may be concluded from an appraisal of a selected number of minerals Environmental Impact Statements, in conjunction with surveys carried out among the minerals operators and Minerals Planning Authorities, that Environmental Impact Assessment has not achieved its full potential. Specific minerals projects have been designed with increased environmental awareness, however EIA within the minerals industry in general has become static. New approaches and improvements must be made to the current planning system in order to utilise the latent potential of EIA which still exists.
    Date of AwardJun 1994
    Original languageEnglish

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