The Application of Environmental Impact Assessment to Land Reclamation Practice
Environmental impact assessment (EIA) is a tool to assist in limiting the potential environmental damage of various developments. This article explores the possible application of EIA to projects that are instead designed to bring about environmental improvement. This is illustrated by reference to projects for the reclamation of derelict land. Consideration of the different steps of the EIA process shows how it might contribute to the land reclamation process. A review of environmental statements and government guidance enabled the compilation of a comprehensive checklist of factors associated with reclamation. A study was then made of plans to reclaim a derelict quarry in Rossendale, Lancashire, UK. The EIA approach tested revealed a number of factors of importance to the project which had not been dealt with fully or sufficiently early by the actual plans. The EIA approach was also able to demonstrate the process of intended environmental improvement for the site. It is concluded that EIA can fulfil both a 'conventional' role as a tool for environmental management and the more 'creative' role of maximizing the potentially beneficial effects of a project. Certain adaptations to the EIA process are suggested in order for it to fulfil this creative role.
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