Digitising the future of Environmental Impact Assessments: Report launched

Over the last six months, Connected Places Catapult, QuodTempleLiquorice and ODI Leeds have collaborated to explore digitisation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and create a future vision for how a better designed, data-informed and digitally driven Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process might be beneficial for developers, planners and the community at large.

The culmination of this research has been set out in a new report launched today. The report highlights the outcome of our in-depth user research into industry challenges and opportunities for transformation and digitisation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), as well as the development of seven concepts which hope to deliver a digital and data-led future for EIA. These concepts are a direct result of interviews and testing with a wide range of stakeholders across the sector, and for those we prioritised, the report considers the user experience and a roadmap of implementation for each.

EIAs are regulated by EU/UK legislation and are a crucial part of the design evolution and approval process for major projects. The purpose of an EIA is to ensure the environmental and social effects of major development proposals are understood prior to decisions being taken and to aid public participation in decision-making. However, currently they’re seen as burdensome, impenetrable, and very rarely do we monitor if they were correct. Despite other PropTech innovations, digital technology is not being exploited to capture data or deliver efficient and effective ways of producing Environmental Statements (the product of an EIA).

Talking about the report, Elin Fragley, Director at Quod, said: “We believe successful EIA and planning is at the heart of creating truly sustainable developments. Whilst the industry has started to embrace the benefits of data and digital innovation over recent years there is so much more to harness which would help the processes be more efficient, effective and accessible. We are confident that this research can provide a valuable resource and stimulus for those in the industry and government to work collaboratively to achieve wholesale digital transformation of EIA for the benefit of all and at all stages.”

To read the Digitisation of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) report and find out more about our research, findings and recommendations visit the project website here. The report can be directly downloaded here.

We will be publishing our own blog post that talks about the report in more detail very soon.