TCP8956 : Environmental Assessment


Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module aims to provide insight into the principles, concepts and practice of environmental assessment (EA), emphasising its potential as a decision-making support tool for planning for sustainable development. It considers environmental assessment as a “family” of tools, which can take different forms in response to legal requirements, to the need to address impacts on different environmental receptors (e.g. landscape, health, water, habitats, health) and to emerging environmental challenges.

Set within the EU context, the module will examine the understanding and application of environmental assessment (particularly Environmental Impact Assessment-EIA and Strategic Environmental Assessment-SEA) and sustainability appraisal techniques within the UK’s policy-, plan- and project-making development system, and consider evidence of their effectiveness by reviewing examples from practice.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module covers a broad range of topics within the wider scope of environmental assessment, which are explored through lectures materials, class discussions and exercises. The topics explored in the module include:

What is environmental assessment and what is it for:
Origins and evolution of environmental assessment
Principles and concepts of environmental assessment

How does environmental assessment work:
Role of environmental assessment in the planning and decision-making process
Current legal and policy frameworks for environmental assessment, including EIA and SEA and their differences
Key stages of the environmental assessment procedure and techniques for environmental assessment practice

Examples of other forms of environmental assessment:
For example, landscape and visual impact assessment (LVIA) and landscape character assessment (LCA), appropriate assessment (AA) or habitats regulation assessment (HRA); and health impact assessment (HIA)

Environmental assessment in practice:
Issues of effectiveness and of quality.
Future directions and trends in environmental assessment

A more detailed syllabus of the module outline with weekly topics and student learning activities, will be included in the module brief.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00Present in person lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion301:0030:00Writing up of written exercise
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading331:0033:00Reading lists provided for each topic in support of learning and assessment
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities81:008:00Selected readings and activities related to content covered
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion71:007:00Structured discussion with guiding questions relating to content delivered each week
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module will be delivered via both, scheduled and structured learning activities. These include present in person (PiP) lectures, which will provide students with weekly contact with the module leader and with their peers, and an opportunity to ask questions, seek clarifications or expand on the discussions in an informal manner. During these sessions, the portfolio of guided structured learning activities for each session will be explained, including they relate to the module learning outcomes. They include selected readings and participation to non-synchronous discussion boards and activities.

The lecture materials covering different topics aim to provide a conceptual background for understanding the environment and sustainable development, and the role of planning in managing (environmental) change for sustainable development. The readings provide students with the opportunity to develop a more in-depth understanding of environmental assessment, in both theory and practice. The non-synchronous online discussion boards provide students with the opportunity to discuss further the complex issues explored in the lecture materials and in the selected readings in a structured way. All activities aim to support and guide students in the preparation for assessed coursework. Surgeries/drop-ins will be offered throughout the module to assist further with coursework preparation

Should the public health situation not allow for PiP teaching, the scheduled lectures will be reduced from 11 to 9, and core content will be delivered through pre-recorded content blocks, two per session of 15- 30 minutes each, with weekly live online module talks and drop-ins. The pre-recorded lecture materials will be complemented by learning activities which will provide students with the opportunity to reflect on the recorded material covered and explore more in-depth the topics covered by reading a selected paper, which will then be discussed as a cohort in a non-synchronous online discussion board facilitated by the module leader. The discussions will be guided by questions, based on the readings and activities given. The sessions will be recorded, and made available for those that are unable to attend.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M100Critical review of an environmental statement or report using quality review packages. 2500 words (excluding bibliography)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The aim of the assignment is to critically review the quality of an environmental statement/report using existing environmental assessment review packages and establish whether it is of satisfactory quality in terms of the framework adopted, the quality and completeness of the information provided and the acceptability of the judgement based on the environmental assessment findings.

Reading Lists