GEOG30860 Environmental Assessment

Academic Year 2023/2024

Environmental assessment is a mandatory requirement under European and international legislation. Its aim is to ensure that environmental considerations are integrated into planning and decision-making. It applies to spatial planning (e.g. land use, renewable or waste management plans) and to projects (e.g. power stations, incinerators, housing developments and wind farms). This is a research-led module that will introduce students to environmental assessment legislation, processes and practice through lectures, workshops, set readings and research activities. In particular, it will:

• Introduce the students to Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA), as well as other relevant associated legislation (e.g. Water Framework Directive, Flood Risk Directive, etc.)
• Clearly identify for the students commonalities and differences in legislative requirements, as well as to provide an overview on any legislation amendments/updates.
• Introduce the various practical steps to be undertaken in an environmental assessment (e.g. screening, scoping, alternatives, etc.), including public participation.
• Provide a range of methods and techniques to support environmental assessment processes; including an introduction to indicators.
• Provide real-life examples of environmental assessment across a range of scales (e.g. from national to local) and sectors (e.g. land use, energy, water, etc.)
• Examine current practice issues in environmental assessment and present measures to promote good practice.
• Facilitate and encourage critical analysis of environmental impact assessment practice, techniques and outcomes.
• Support students in the acquisition of an understanding of environmental assessment requirements and impact assessment methods.
• Support students in group work for the acquisition of a shared knowledge and environmental report writing skills.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completing the module, including attendance at lectures, workshops, completion of readings and research activities, students will be able to:

• Discuss the legislative background and practice of environmental assessment and implementation.
• Outline the structure and content of environmental assessment processes and identify key current practice issues.
• Critically debate the nature and significance of potential environmental impacts deriving from a number of sectors.
• Critically analyse and reflect on data and information provided by a variety of sources to support environmental assessment.
• Discuss the roles of different actors (stakeholders, decision-makers and the general public) in undertaking environmental assessment, as well as in implementing the assessment outcomes.

Indicative Module Content:

Practical application of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA).

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The module will be delivered through a combination of lectures, guest lectures, class debates and practical exercises.
Students will have the opportunity to learn from practitioners on current real-life applications and challenges in impact assessment, and be given access to recently published environmental reports for examination and debate.
Class-based exercises will facilitate peer-learning while developing group-work and communication skills. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:


Learning Recommendations:


Module Requisites and Incompatibles
GEOG40860 - Practical Env. Assessment

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: Individual Report - Environmental Impacts of Renewable Energy Developments Week 9 n/a Graded No


Group Project: Group Poster - Current Practice Challenges Week 12 n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Individual feedback will be provided on each assignment via Brightspace post-assessment. This will be complemented with in-class feedback.