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Ecological Assessment of Proposed Road Developments

A Review of Environmental Statements

By Jo Treweek, Stewart Thompson
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The European and UK legislation on environmental assessment (EA) J as well as requiring
assessment of significant ecological effects, also requires development proponents to
recommend mitigation measures for adverse impacts.

Drawing on a review of proposed ecological mitigation measures in 194 environmental
statements (ES) for UK development proposals, this paper highlights problems with the
current legislation in ensuring that ecological impacts are mitigated effectively, with a
view to sustainable development.

The review reveals confusion about the extent to which ecological mitigation is required. First, there is no objective basis for deciding which potentially adverse impacts should be mitigated. Proposed mitigation measures do not always relate directly to the ecological impacts identified in ES and there is a high risk of residual adverse effects.

Second, there is no generally accepted method for evaluating the effectiveness of proposed mitigation measures, despite a clear recommendation from the UK’s Department of the Environment (DOE, 1989) that an ‘assessment of the likely effectiveness’ of mitigation measures should be included in ES. Methods which can be
used to evaluate the likely feasibility, costs and redistributional effects of ecological
mitigation measures in EA are needed. Some of the factors which should be taken into
account are considered in this paper.