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Title: The impact of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on new-housing development : a case study of Bangkok, Thailand
Author: Tangrungruengyoo, Keattisak
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 9913
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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Countries with rapidly growing economies, such as Thailand, must address the existing conflict between the promotion of environmental protection and the endorsement of economic development—a conflict that places significant strain on public policy. The question that remains concerns the methods via which such economies can adopt in order to maintain steady growth while mitigating the negative impacts on the environment. Although the housing development sector is a major driver of economic growth, it also has the potential to negatively impact the environment. In concurrence with rapid urbanisation, the demand for housing development is also on the rise, thus contributing to greater environmental stress. To address this issue, the Thai Government introduced the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in 1981 to identify environmental problems associated with major development projects in order to achieve sustainable development goals. This thesis explores the extent to which the EIA impacts the development of new housing in Bangkok, Thailand. It seeks to identify how the state impacts private housing development by regulating and directing new house building. The study questions the extent to which state actions are influenced by private sector efforts to ‘control’ state influence. Thus, the research investigates: (1) how far the implementation of environmental regulation in new housing development reflects the priorities of the private sector or those of national-local state authorities; and, (2) how far the framework for environmental regulation is a reflection of state sector imperatives or reflects a circumscribing of the role of the state by the private sector. As such, this research focuses on the interplay between the interests of the state and private sector actors, conceptualised in terms of how these competing interests influence the introduction of new environmental demands in new housing development projects. Thus, the study focuses on state-capital relationships through a corporatist theoretical approach. The primary method of data collection in this research is in-depth qualitative interviews featuring large-scale and small private developers, housing development-related associations, EIA consultants, politicians, senior and street-level bureaucrats, NGOs, and academic scholars. The results of this study indicate that EIA has not been implemented effectively in Thailand primarily owing to the absence of political commitment, unclear legislation, an inflexible governance structure, inefficient allocations of authority, a lack of intercommunication between the civic and private realms, insufficient monitoring and implementation, and mechanism impotency. Thus, EIA has been concomitant with both micro and macro level impacts on new-housing developments. It further shows that economic growth has been the main priority for national development goals and hence, environmental considerations are rarely given precedence in the public and private sectors’ decision-making process. Therefore, it is argued that Thailand should consider reforming its EIA regulations and implementation strategy to counteract future imbalances between the growth of the economy and the decline of environmental conservation. In order to make EIA procedures more effective, this study suggests that it is imperative to (i) encourage political will; (ii) amend EIA regulations to enable efficient execution of the policy at every level; (iii) create codes of practice and precise guidelines for all stakeholders; (iv) strengthen institutional capacity; and, (v) enhance regulatory procedures, particularly monitoring and public participation.
Supervisor: Hamnett, Christopher ; Garmany, Jeffrey Todd Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available