The purpose of review is to assure the completeness and quality of the information gathered in an EIA. When undertaken as a formal step, it acts as a final check on the quality of the EIA report submitted to obtain a project authorisation. Often, this process leads to a requirement for additional information on potential impacts, mitigation measures or other aspects.
Key objectives of EIA review are to:
- assess the adequacy and quality of an EIA report;
- take account of public comment;
- determine if the information is sufficient for a final decision to be made; and
- identify, as necessary, the deficiencies that must be addressed before the report can be submitted.
In many EIA systems, the review stage is the major opportunity for public involvement. However, the arrangements for this purpose vary considerably from country to country. They range from notification of a period for receiving written comments on the EIA report to holding public hearings. Typically, the latter mechanism is part of an independent review by an EIA panel or inquiry body, which is considered to be a particularly transparent and rigorous approach.
An interim or prior review of EIA preparation can provide an informal check on the quality of work, to verify that is satisfactory and meets requirements. Normally, this will carried out by the responsible authority. However, the proponent can undertake an internal or â€˜mockâ€™ review of EIA quality as part of due diligence or quality assurance. In this way, proponents can ensure their work is of an appropriate standard before it is subject to external review. This can help to avoid delays associated with the issuance of deficiency statements or requests for additional information.