Environmental Impact Assessment

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) must satisfy the requirements of the regulations in it's scope and content. However, when used as a positive tool in the design of a project, EIA can go beyond these requirements by helping to minimise the adverse environmental effects of a development and maximising the benefits that may arise from it.

A2 Environmental Consultants are experienced in the provision of services to address the EIA regulations as required for certain types of development and in accordance with the requirements of European Directive (85/33/EEC as amended by 97/11/EC). Our team includes personnel experienced in the provision of ecology, air quality, noise, landscape, built heritage, socio economics, traffic, and geo-environmental assessments. We are practiced in addressing the technical aspects of the Environmental Statement (ES) in identifying pragmatic mitigation measures, and are trained Expert Witnesses in our respective fields.

Our consultants have undertaken environmental Assessments for major urban Regeneration projects including Tradeston Riverside on Clydeside, The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Isle of Man Radio Station through Masterplanning constraints analysis for large development sites including the Arderseir Fabrication yard Inverness and Auchencruive Campus for the Scottish Agricultural College. We also have strong renewable energy expertise and advise a number of leading companies in this field. The rigorous approach adopted ensures that we are able to present expert evidence at public inquiry when required. Where expertise from other professionals for environmental impact assessment on specialist topics is required, we draw on a network of approved sub-consultants and co-ordinate and manage their inputs into the EIA process to provide fully integrated innovative assessments.

A summary of A2 environmental impact assessment sector expertise includes:


  • Infrastructure & transportation development
  • Urban regeneration & Land reclamation
  • Renewable energy generation
  • Commercial & residential development
  • Marine & coastal development
  • Residential / Mixed Use and Business Park developments


    In considering the need for or undertaking EIA work we are guided by the following key principles, which we believe benefit our clients and/or deliver better quality environmental statements:

    To undertake EIA only where appropriate;

    For some developments, there is no question about the need for an EIA. But for other developments the need is less clear and hinges on the likely significance of the predicted environmental effects. Although local authorities will often give a 'screening opinion' that an EIA is required, there have been many cases of these opinions being overturned by 'screening directions' by the Secretary of State. Where appropriate, we produce 'screening reports' explaining why there will be no significant effects and hence why an EIA is not required, thus saving the client time and money. As an alternative, specialist technical reports will be prepared to accompany a planning application.

    To focus effort on likely significant effects;

    The only effects that need to be assessed as part of an EIA are those that are likely to be significant - other effects can and should be scoped out. We place considerable emphasis on the screening and/or scoping stages of the EIA to ensure that these likely significant effects are identified and agreed with key Consultees. These effects are then the focus of the rest of the EIA. Not only does this benefit our clients, by reducing the cost of the EIA, but it also helps consultees by providing them with a more focused environmental statement that is less time-consuming to review.

    It is critical that the detailed assessment that is carried out reflects a specification that has been agreed with key consultees, so that they are less likely to object to the scope of the work when the environmental statement has been completed.

    Where possible, to avoid the need for a Public Enquiry.

    Not only are Public Enquiries time-consuming and expensive but they also carry a significant risk of failure. The best solution is therefore to seek to avoid them. To this end, we work closely with our clients and/or their design teams to build mitigation and enhancement measures into the design such that the adverse environmental effects of the development are minimised and the benefits maximised. To achieve this, requires early and ongoing consultation with statutory and non statutory organisations and the wider public. In this way we ensure that key issues of concern are, where possible, addressed early on, thereby reducing the likelihood of objections and the need for an inquiry .This process avoids the often high cost of having to revise the scheme to 'bolt on' mitigation measures to a completed design.

    Our approach to EIA can be summarised as follows:

    Stage 1 Feasibility and Options Appraisal

    Demonstrate the need for the development where appropriate, consider alternative sites.

    Stage 2 Screening ; Does the Development require an EIA

    Initiate discussions with consultees and provide screening report (if appropriate) identifying likely significant effects Request Screening opinion

    Stage 3 Scoping The EIA

    Define scope of EIA – survey and assessment methodologies for likely significant effects Prepare scoping report. Continue consultation; continue discussion on avoidance / mitigation / enhancement with design team

    Stage 4 EIA Detailed Assessment and production of an ES

    Collect data Predict effects Identify, in detail, avoidance mitigation / enhancement measures Determine significance. Report the findings of the EIA Internal review of environmental statement.

    Stage 5 Determination

    Review - undertaken by planning or other regulatory body following submission of the Environmental Statement; Attend public inquiry if required.

    Stage 6 Project Monitoring

    Monitor environmental changes and integrate with Environmental Management Plan (EMP)

  • A2 Environmental Consultants Ltd | Registered in Scotland - 374917

    53 Bothwell Street, Glasgow, G2 6TS | TEL: 0141 226 6945