Factors to be Considered For Taking Decisions Based on Assessment of Significance

of an Impact

There are six factors that should be taken into account when assessing the significance of
an environmental impact arising from a project activity.
The factors are interrelated and should not be considered in isolation. For a particular
impact some factors may carry more weight than others but it is the combination of all
the factors that determines the significance.

1. Magnitude: Will the impact be irreversible? If irreversible, what will be the rate of
recovery or adaptability of an impact area? Will the activity preclude the use of the
impact area for other purposes?

2. Prevalence: Each action taken separately might represent a localized impact of small
importance and magnitude but a number of actions could result in a wide spread effect,

3. Duration and Frequency: The significance of duration and frequency is reflected in
the following questions. Will the activity be long-term or short-term? If the activity is
intermittent, will it allow for recovery during in active periods?

4. Risk: To accurately assess the risk, both the project activity and the area of the
environment impacted must be well known and understood.

5. Importance: This is defined as the value that is attached to an environmental

6. Mitigations: Are solutions to problems available? Existing technology may provide a
solution to a silting problem expected during construction of an access road, or to bank
erosion resulting from a new stream configuration.