What Is An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)?

by | Feb 1, 2021

We live in a more environmentally-conscious era than ever before. With the likes of Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg helping place climate-based issues centre stage, human impacts on the natural world are (rightly) more scrutinised than ever before. That’s why, prior to any drilling work we do and before any planning permissions can be granted to developers, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) must be carried out. The team here at Borehole Solutions, one of the UK’s leading geotechnical companies, wanted to explain the importance of these assessments and some of the criteria they cover.


What Is An EIA?

First, though, let’s look at what these environmental impact assessments actually are. Well, they’re pretty self-explanatory and the clue’s in the name! Simply put, they’re assessments carried out to determine what environmental problems or issues might result from proposed works. This might be in terms of groundwater quality, for instance, or any potential damage cause to native flora and fauna. The scope of these assessments is incredibly broad; if you want to carry out any kind of work, the chances are you’ll have to fill out an EIA of some sort.


What Are The Processes Involved In An EIA?

There are five stages in any environmental impact assessment, as outlined by the UK Government regulations. These are as follows:

1. Screening

This is where a general inspection is made of the proposed works, whether it will have any significant environmental impacts and therefore whether an assessment is required.

2. Scoping

The scoping process helps outline the extent of the issues needing consideration within the subsequent assessment. If further clarification is needed, it can be sought in the form of a ‘scoping opinion’ where the local planning authority states what it sees as the potential issues from the proposed works.

3. Preparing An Environmental Statement

In instances where an assessment is deemed necessary, an Environmental Statement must be prepared and submitted. This is where any probable effects/impacts are laid out in as much detail as possible. It will include, for instance, an outline of how compliance with planning policy, the proposed use of the development and any potential residues and emissions (including light, noise, water, air and soil pollution).

4. Making The Application

Once the Environmental Statement has been prepared it can then be submitted. It’s important to note that the application must be made available for the public to themselves view.

5. Decision-Making Process

In most cases, the local authority ultimately determines whether or not the proposed work will be allowed to proceed or not. In some rarer instances, for particularly large (and public) projects, the Secretary of State might themselves have a say on the outcome of the decision.


Our Services

Here at Borehole Solutions, we offer a range of environmental testing and assessment services. These range from WAC testing to asbestos testing, preliminary Phase 1 Desk Studies and much more in between. We’re committed to conducting thorough and high-quality testing for all our clients, to always ensure minimal impact on the surrounding environment.


Contact Borehole Solutions

So, if you’d like to find out more about any of our services, then get in touch! Contact Borehole Solutions today on 01733 200 501 or by emailing us on info@boreholesolutions.com.