LAW8555 : Environmental Impact Assessment Law and Practice

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


This course will introduce students to the theory of Environmental Impact Assessment and its potential as a tool of environmental management. It will complement the theoretical study of EIA with a consideration of how EIA has been implemented in EC law and in the UK though development planning, development control and other consent procedures. It will consider, in particular, how and to what extent EIA can improve the quality of decision making about projects affecting the environment, and how (and to what extent) it can and does improve public participation in decision making and "empower" local communities to take greater control of the environment in their communities.

It will compare and contrast EIA with Strategic Environmental Assessment of development plans and public projects. The module will use a case study of a real EIA, using planning documents, to examine the changes in decision making about the environment brought about by EIA as a tool of development planning.

Outline Of Syllabus

1. The theory of EIA; structure and impact on the culture of administrative decision making.

2. The European EIA Directive.

3. Transposition of European Law into UK law and planning procedures, EIA in English law.

4. EIA in the Courts; interpretation of the Directive by the European Court of Justice, and by the
English courts.

5. Case Studies of EIA in Practice – the Cairngorm Funicular EIA, and the subsequent litigation in
WWF v Secretary of State for Scotland (1999), and the Trump International Golf Links EIA.

6. Strategic Environmental Assessment ("SEA").

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture52:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching42:008:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study801:0080:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures are used to introduce students to EIA as a regulatory tool of environmental management. The seminars will then be used to discuss the concepts, develop subject specific and generic skills. A case study will be explored and students will have the opportunity to review real planning documents.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M1003000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

• Tests students ability to deal with complex legal concepts and understand the way in which the law shapes and determines the outcomes of planning procedures in practice.

• Tests students ability to identify changes in the culture of decision making brought about by EIA, and the significance of the manner in which environmental information is collected, represented and determined in an environmental statement and environmental impact assessment.

Reading Lists