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Free Content Emphasising enhancement in all forms of impact assessment: introduction to a special issue

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In the context of impact assessment (IA), ‘enhancement’ refers to deliberate attempts taken in the design and subsequent phases of projects, programmes, plans and policies to ensure the success of a wider range of direct and indirect positive outcomes to communities and/or the biophysical environment. This can be in the form of opportunities for social and community development, improved health and wellbeing, improved biodiversity, restored ecosystems and landscape character, and protected and respected cultural heritage. This first ever special issue on enhancement advocates that all forms of IA should consider opportunities for enhancement. Specific reference is made to strategic environmental assessment (SEA), environmental impact assessment (EIA), social impact assessment (SIA) and health impact assessment (HIA). The paper presents views from IA practitioners regarding perceptions of the barriers to greater use of enhancement in IA and suggestions for possible solutions to those barriers. Investment in enhancement initiatives contributes to sustainable development and resilience, and is consistent with corporate social responsibility obligations of proponents.

Keywords: enhancement; mitigation; offsets; positive impacts; resilience; social outcomes

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Postgraduate Studies, Department of Civil Engineering/David Livingstone Centre for Sustainability, University of Strathclyde, 50 Richmond Street Glasgow, G1 1XN, Scotland < xmlns:xlink="" xlink:href="">, Email:, URL:, Email:, URL: "> 2: Cultural Geography in the Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen, PO Box 800 9700, AV Groningen, The Netherlands < xmlns:xlink="" xlink:href="">, Email:, URL:, Email:, URL: "> 3: National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), PO Box 1 3720 BA, Bilthoven, The Netherlands < xmlns:xlink="" xlink:href="">, Email:, URL:, Email:, URL:">

Publication date: 2011-09-01

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