A framework for evaluating enhancement quality as part of the EIA process

Nisbet, Joe and João, Elsa (2022) A framework for evaluating enhancement quality as part of the EIA process. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 96. 106806. ISSN 0195-9255 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eiar.2022.106806)

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This paper presents a framework for evaluating the quality of enhancement of positive impacts in Environmental Impact Assessment reports (EIARs). The ‘Enhancement Quality Testing Framework’ created for this study is structured around four performance indicators to evaluate enhancement measures detailed in EIARs that focus on: Inclusion; Timing; Thoroughness; and Responsibility & Monitoring. In this way a holistic view of enhancement has been taken to create a framework to evaluate enhancement quality. The framework was tested in documentary research of 24 Scottish EIARs published between 2015 and 2020 (including relevant documents submitted as part of the planning application, such as Environmental Management Plans). The results highlighted a wide recognition of enhancement (70%) among the EIAR evaluated. However, the majority of grades assigned across the performance indicators for the reports examined fell within ‘Deficient’ or ‘Not Present’. The framework could be used and adapted by developers, consultants, decision makers and academics to provide insight, and to introduce accountability, regarding the quality of enhancement integration in EIA practice.