Environmental Impact Analysis

Environmental Impact Analysis

Environmental impact analysis is typically an analysis that is done with an aim of assessing the potential effect or impact of a proposed project on the social and natural environment. This analysis can include assessment of both long-term and short-term effects that a development project that has been proposed is likely to have on physical environment which includes water, air and/or noise pollution and its effects on the local services, health and living standards as well as aesthetics.

Who is involved in environmental impact analysis?

This analysis is usually done by local officials, developers and planners as well as other community members. These recognize that the environmental quality and economic development are also important elements of the growth of the community. Generally, this process usually involves different individuals, especially civil servants and professionals with expertise in environmental engineering and science. It mostly includes local officials with knowledge about the management regulations and procedures of the federal, state and local agencies.

Community members with interest and expertise in local natural resources and environment are also involved. Choosing the right individuals for this analysis ensures that accurate considerations are given to the potential impact of a proposed development project. This is why the relevant agencies must ensure that the analysis is done by only suitable experts even if consultants have to be hired to perform the analysis.

What environmental impact analysis entails

This analysis involves a systematic process during which human and natural resources are identified, described and evaluated with an aim of improving the decisions made about their management. The choice to analyze a community’s environment does not mean that all the resources identified have to be protected or preserved. It simply means that the community has to be informed or knowledgeable about the available resources. This ensures that decisions made for the development reflect different values of the community instead of economic values only. This analysis facilitates planning by the community by helping the officials of the local government, citizens and the community leaders to:

  • Identify the valuable resources in their community environment or surrounding areas that the proposed development can affect.
  • Evaluate the capacity of the community for the additional development considering the priorities of protecting the environment.
  • Identify the tradeoffs or deficiencies between the possible development course of action or alternatives and environmental impacts that are associated with the alternatives.
  • Determine the groups in a community that might be affected by the proposed action or project indirectly or directly.

Why environmental impact analysis is important
Basically, the importance of this analysis is ensuring environmental protection by ensuring that the authority in charge of local planning considers the possible effects before granting permission for any project as well as take the effects into account while making decisions.

The importance of this analysis is basically to:

  • Ensure compliance of development projects with all appropriate and relevant environmental regulations and laws which include floodplain and wetland regulations as well as storm-water management regulations during operation and construction of new projects.
  • Promote communication among developers, local officials, community leaders as well as citizens about the kind of proposal and its possible impact on the environment.
  • Ensure fair and consistent review of the development proposals through the application of a process of systematic review that entails environmental assessment.
  • Provide a forum via which alternatives can be explored for the proposed strategies or development to mitigate the impacts, if or when necessary.

For instance, this analysis can inform decisions about development projects regarding the most appropriate housing project site. It can also help in the establishment of mitigation strategies for the proposed development that have been approved such as the design elements of a site to reduce the volume of storm-water runoff or contamination.

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