Review Framework

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This framework for EIA review comprises a list of questions to check that the EIA process was satisfactorily completed (e.g. in accordance with legal requirements and terms of reference in force) and then consider the quality of the EIA report.

The following rating scale may be used to answer the following questions in detail.

A. excellent (thoroughly and competently performed)
B. good (minor omissions and deficiencies)
C. satisfactory (some omissions and deficiencies)
D. poor (significant omissions and deficiencies)
E. very poor (fundamental flaws and weaknesses)
F. no opinion (insufficient basis/experience on which to judge)

I. EIA process

Were the following activities completed fully and successfully?

a) screening — proposal classified correctly as to level and requirement for assessment?

b) scoping — process completed and resulted in:

i) priority issues and relevant impacts identified?
ii) key actors involved?
iii) reasonable alternatives established?
iv) terms of reference/study guidelines prepared?

c) impact analysis — process completed in scope and depth necessary?

i) affected environment (baseline) conditions described?
ii) estimation and prediction of main impact categories?, including
+ indirect and cumulative effects?
+ other relevant factors
iii) suitable database and methodologies used?

d) mitigation — necessary measures or environmental management plan identified?, including

i) follow up and monitoring arrangements if strategies are untried or impacts uncertain?
ii) specification of contingency plans or non-standardised operating responses?

e) significance — residual effects evaluated as to potential severity?, including reference to

i) their scope, duration and irreversibility?
ii) relative importance to dependent communities or ecological functions?
iii) possible compensation or offset mechanisms (also 2d)?

II. Quality of EIA/EIA Report

Is the information included consistent with the terms of reference and the process followed? Specifically is the information:

1. complete — informed decision can be made?
2. suitable — right type of information included?
3. understandable — easily apprehended by decision maker?
4. reliable — meets established professional and disciplinary standards?
5. defensible — risks and impact are qualified as to proposal uncertainties?
6. actionable — provides clear basis for choice and condition setting?

References

Sadler B (1996) Environmental Assessment in a Changing World: Evaluating Practice to Improve Performance (Final Report of the International Study of the Effectiveness of Environmental Assessment). Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and International Association for Impact Assessment, Ottawa, Canada.