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What is Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)?

  • EIA is a process which involves planners, managers, economists, scientists, engineers and other professionals, ideally interacting with all levels of government and government policy and the community. To make a decision about the effects of a specific development or activity based on the compatibility of the proposed development or activity with mutually agreed goals.

  • Specifically, the process involves:

    • Predicting the effects of specific human activities on the natural environment;

    • Evaluating the loss or gain to the natural environment from specific human activities;

    • Measuring the loss or gain to the natural environment resulting from specific human activities (ie monitoring); and

    • Comparing the effects of the proposal on the natural environment with other possible options (including the option of 'no development').

  • An important tool in the EIA process is the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), a document that should predict the effects on, and evaluate the loss or gain to, the natural environment due to the proposed development or activity.

Proponents of coastal developments include (listed in order of the number of developments proposed)

  • Private companies

  • Private citizens

  • Government authorities

  • Local councils

  • Church organisations

Consent authorities (or 'approving authorities') are those governments and government authorities who have the power to accept or reject a particular proposal. They include:

  • Local Councils - 85%

  • Government Authorities - 14%

    Breakdown (% is given out of 14%):

    • Federal - 5.7%
    • State - 79%
    • Regional - 15.2%

(Percentage given = Percentage of the total number proposals lodged with the NSW Department of Urban Affairs and Planning in a survey of proposals done between June, 1991 and August, 1994 by M.P. Lincoln Smith.)