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Steps involved in the development of an environmental assessment

Lesson 8

RESEARCH PROJECT

Lesson Aim

Prepare an environmental impact assessment, including all stages from research through to writing and presentation of the report. 

The research project is your opportunity to test out your skills as an environmental consultant. In this project, you will carry out a small environmental assessment and structure it as a professional report, as if you had been hired to carry out an environmental assessment by a developer. In real life, working as an Environmental Consultant, you may be required to write very long and detailed Environmental

Assessment Reports, in the range of 50-100 pages or more in length. For the Environmental Assessment that you will conduct for your research project as part of this lesson however, we will ask that rather than actually undertaking an Environmental Assessment, to instead detail what you would do as part of an Environmental Assessment if you were an actual Environmental Consultant. This will be explained in more detail below.

For your project, you need to select a development that has been proposed in your area (or at least a “dummy development”, using a specific local site that could be developed and an example of a hypothetical development). You may use the development that you began in lesson 6, or choose another project. Examples of projects that you may use as your proposed project might include: a proposed road, shopping centre, rubbish tip, building development, waterway alteration or any other environmentally impacting development. Be very detailed in describing your environment and proposed development.

Developing Your Environmental Assessment

Work through the steps involved in the development of an environmental assessment as follows (making use of your Subject Guide when needed, especially in regards to the presentation and structure required for your Environmental Assessment):

  1. Describe in detail your environment and the proposed development for that site. This may be based on notes you made as part of the Set Task for Lesson 6 if you are using the same development. Make use of this information to develop your introduction for your assessment report.
  1. Determine the type of assessment that will need to be carried out (based on your existing environment and proposed development), as well as the report structure that you will use. Make use of the Lesson 7 notes and your research to help you.
  1. Using your report structure and the notes in Lesson 6 about the steps involved in an Environmental Assessment, look at each of the steps involved such as screening, scoping, baseline studies, predicting impacts (and potentially developing mitigation measures or project alternatives), public consultation and post-project analysis. Relate each of these steps to your development, detailing how each of these steps could be applied to your assessment. For example:
  • Detail the types of baseline studies that could be conducted to determine the characteristics of the environment you have chosen prior to development.
  • Detail the types of impact assessments and techniques that could be used (making sure that you consider impacts on not only the physical environment but also the social environment), as well as any mitigation measures/project alternatives that would apply.
  • Community consultation is a very important part of this process, so make sure that you look into the types of activities that could be implemented as part of the environmental assessment process for your proposed development. This may include such activities as surveying members of the community, holding a public meeting or interviewing stakeholders.
  1. Detail the types of statistical analysis that would be appropriate to use on the data that would be collected (if your proposed impact studies were actually implemented). Make use of the statistical information in Lesson 6 as a guide, though you may need to do some more research.
  2. Based on all of the information you have looked at, you may also look at recommendations that could be made based on the proposed project, including any post-project monitoring and analysis that could be conducted. These recommendations may also be based upon potential community concerns and feedback.

SET TASK

  1. Move through the steps involved in completing an Environmental Assessment, as listed in this lesson, conducting research and making notes for each of the steps listed. You will use this research to complete an Environmental Assessment as part of your Assignment for this subject.
  2. Develop a survey that could be used as part of the Community Consultation section of your assessment. Develop a number of questions (no more than 10) that could be used as part of your survey to survey members of the community that could be potentially affected by your proposed development.
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