A Critical evaluation of the Croxley Rail Link Environmental Impact Assessment
1) Discuss the extent to which environmental considerations have shaped the planning and design of the Croxley Rail Link.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been broadly defined as an assessment process in which the environmental considerations of a development proposal are taken into account in the decision making process. In its official definition the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) describes EIA as:
"the process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made" (IAIA,2009).
Similarly, Glasson et al (2012) define EIA as a systematic process that evaluates environmental consequences of the development process in advance, with a focus upon preventative measures. Whilst the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in its guidance of EIA outlines the aims of EIA to:
"prevent, reduce or offset the significant adverse environmental effects and enhance positive ones" (DCLG,2006).
These definitions of EIA all stress the need for the environment to be involved within the planning process for developments. The outline process of EIA, as shown in Figure 1, in the words of Glasson et al (2012) provides planners with a systematic, holistic and multidisciplinary framework to assess the impacts of development upon the environment.
The requirement for an EIA in the planning process also has a legal foundation, this is originally derived from the EU EIA Directive and subsequently enforced in the UK, by the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011 (DCLG,2014). This legislation also stipulates that developers and planning authorities, in certain situations, consider the impacts of a development proposal.
Despite this, the practice of EIA in being an effective part of the planning system the UK and its ability to influence planning decisions has long been contested (Petts, 1999; Wood, 2003; Jay et al, 2007). This difference between theoretical objectives and reality does question the...