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Title: An evaluation of ecological impact assessment in England
Author: Drayson, Katherine
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2012
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Ecological impact assessment (EcIA) has historically been poorly performed, resulting in poor quality EcIA chapters. No research has been conducted to identify whether poor quality EcIA chapters result in poor quality mitigation and therefore potential net loss of biodiversity. A review of 112 EcIA chapters was conducted to determine whether there have been improvements since the last review in 2000 and which factors are linked with EcIA chapter quality, such as the introduction of professional guidance in 2006. The link between EcIA chapter quality and mitigation on completed development sites was also examined. Both mitigation implementation (whether the mitigation was put in place) and implementation effectiveness (how well mitigation was implemented) were investigated on seven case study sites. Implementation effectiveness was limited to a subset of habitat mitigation measures; grassland and marginal habitat creation and management. The EcIA chapter review identified significant improvements since the last review. However, considerable scope for improvement remains due to the low baseline established by the earlier reviews. The introduction of professional guidance has significantly improved EcIA chapter quality. Calculation of an EcIA chapter quality index identified that, on average, EcIA chapters only include half of the EIA legislation’s information requirements. Investigation of the case study sites identified high rates of mitigation implementation (84.1% of auditable measures were at least partially implemented). However, implementation effectiveness was found to be poor (only three out of ten measures achieved the goals stated in their EcIA chapters or Ecological Management Plans). EcIA chapter quality was found to be significantly linked to mitigation implementation but not to implementation effectiveness. This investigation has identified aspects of the professional guidance that require amendment to help improve EcIA chapter content. Recommendations have also been made for practitioners when recommending ecological mitigation measures. In addition, the requirement for further research into mitigation success has been highlighted.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available