So far, EIAs have not harnessed current digital technology to drive productivity (ie, making the process more efficient, integrated, transparent and collaborative) for environmental protection (delivering greater measurement, monitoring and management of environmental impacts).
That’s where we come in: Connected Places Catapult, Quod, Temple Group, Liquorice and ODI Leeds, as part of a consortium, have received funding from Innovate UK to explore how a better designed, data-informed and digitally delivered EIA process might be beneficial for developers, planners and members of the public. We’ve been listening to users and stakeholders in developing and testing ideas and opportunities to use digital technology to fundamentally transform today’s EIA process.
Environmental Impact Assessment: the challenges
We learned that today’s EIA is characterised by a messy web of diverse stakeholders, ie, planners, environmental experts, developers, regulators, coordinators etc, working across the process. This way of creating and developing an EIA is quite complex, but more importantly, there are a lot of missing links, as well as risk for detail or nuance to be lost. Today’s process creates many barriers to engagement and collaboration across and between stakeholders (especially with local communities) leading to eroded relationships and trust.