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Impact assessment tool

Ad hoc method

By: Sangeeta Mukherjee

M.Tech 1st year, 2nd semester

EIA is defined as
the systematic identification and evaluation of the potential impacts of proposed projects, plans, programs, or legislative actions relative to the physical-chemical, biological, cultural and socioeconomic components of the total environment.

Changing needs of EIA:

Predictive method Environmental risk assessment

Economic analysis & expert system


Examples of analytical tool Traditional EIA

Examples of planning processes National Conservation Strategies Sectoral Natural Resource Strategies Traditional Development Plans UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme National Sustainable Development Plans/Strategies


Social Cost Benefit Analysis Some Human Ecology & Anthropology Studies Sustainability Analysis (modified EIA)

EIA methodologies:
Ad hoc procedure Overlay techniques Checklist Matrices simple, complex Network

What is Ad hoc procedure?

Ad hoc procedures involve assembling a team of specialists to identify impacts in their areas of expertise , with minimal guidance beyond the requirements of the NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act)

Ad hoc procedures come into play when -

Time constraints &

Lack of information Require that the EIA must rely on expert opinion

Salient features
Ad hoc methods are not really methods as they do not structure the problem It is more amenable to systematic analysis A good example is a team of experts assembled for a short time to conduct an EIA Each experts conclusions are based on a unique combination of experience, training and intuition These conclusions are assembled into a report Sometimes this is the only required and possible approach

Aim of the ad hoc Working Group -

The aim of the ad hoc Working Group is two-fold. Based on an analysis of the existing requirements it should be considered whether there is need for:
New regulations; and/or A guide for the practical application of the existing regulations, in order ensure clear procedures and a harmonized implementation in the region.

Possible considerations by the ad hoc Working Group -

The ad hoc Working Group might want to

Look into the existing regulations applicable to EIA procedures Assess examples of practice in implementing the EIA procedure and see whether any gaps exist Discuss how to overcome possible gaps

Possible questions to consider -

When to carry out an EIA

The time schedule The different stages of an EIA procedure

The final decision

The role of the experts in the process

Results of using the ad hoc method to compare alternative reservoir arrangements :

Items Number of reservoirs on river system Combined surface area, ha Total reservoir shoreline, km New irrigation areas, ha Reduced open space because of project and associated population increases, ha Inundated archaeological sites, nos. Reduced soil erosion, relative magnitude Enhanced fisheries, relative magnitude Provision of flood control measures New potential malarial areas, relative magnitude Additional employment potential, number of persons

Alternatives A B C 4 1 0 8500 300 190 65 40000 12000 10000 2000 11 3 4x 1x 4x 1x Yes Yes 4x 1x 1000 200 Nil Nil No Nil -

This method is very easy to use but does have a few drawbacks : It may not encompass all the relevant impacts The criteria used to evaluate impacts are not comparable; thus the relative weights of various impacts cannot be compared It is inherently inefficient as it requires sizeable effort to identify and assemble an appropriate panel of experts for each assessment It provides minimal guidance for impact analysis while suggesting broad areas of possible impacts The process of assessment can never be replicated making it difficult to review and critique the conclusions in the EIA