Environmental Impact Assessment

We identify the environmental impacts that might arise from development, characterising the numerous socio-economic effects that it can have.

How can an Environmental Impact Assessment Help?

We support our clients by delivering the socio-economic elements of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) which identify the impacts likely to arise from developments that require an EIA according to regulations.

This assesses the numerous beneficial effects that can be delivered and identifies potential adverse effects, navigating how they can be managed, mitigated, or offset. Frequently our work will deliver the socio-economic EIA chapter of an Environmental Statement. Our EIA project work includes:

  • Residential-led development
  • Mixed-use development
  • Employment-led development
  • Energy infrastructure

See how we have supported planning applications with environmental impact assessments >

The Importance of Sound Socio-economic Assessment

The aim of an EIA is to protect the receiving environment by ensuring consenting authorities are aware of the likely or potential significant effects of a project or development. This enables consenting authorities to take such effects into consideration during the process.

An EIA can also ensure the public are in a position to participate in the decision-making process concerning developments that have the potential to impact them.

The topic of socio-economics often forms a key part of the Environmental Statement – it is one of the few topics that can demonstrate significant beneficial effects resulting from a project or development.

This often means there is scope to discuss enhancements of such beneficial effects, which acts as a counterweight to the need to mitigate the negative effects assessed under many other topics.

Learn more about the factors affecting economic development >

Our Approach to Environmental Impact Assessments

We tailor our approach to the development in question, but our socio-economics EIA work will typically include the following stages:

  • Study area definition: assessing at the most appropriate spatial scale is an important aspect of any EIA. We utilise GIS analysis to ensure the study area definition is grounded in quantitative evidence.
  • Policy environment: we conduct a thorough review of national, regional, and local policy environments to understand the policy context within which a development is being considered. This has an important influence on understanding the sensitivity of the receiving environment.
  • Consultation: we review scoping responses relevant to socio-economics and weigh up where within the EIA they should be considered. Depending on the scale of the project, we also carry out stakeholder consultations to test and inform emerging findings and adapt our approach where necessary.
  • Baseline environment: we compile a comprehensive profile of the study area’s socio-economic conditions. Whilst being mindful of ensuring any information included is relevant to the assessment, receptors typically covered include population, jobs, economic performance, skills, impact sectors, housing, education, health, and other local services and conditions.
  • Methodology: we set out a staged approach which considers the magnitude of an impact, the sensitivity of the receiving environment, and finally a combination of these two factors.
  • Assessment: we then conduct a transparent, evidence-based assessment to identify any significant effects. This will include consideration of cumulative effects, taking into account the development of other schemes which may impact on the same receiving environment.

Throughout our approach we draw on best practice guidance and work with clients to assess the best available information, ensuring an appropriate level of detail to meet the needs of clients and the requirements of consenting authorities.

Learn more about economic development consulting with Hardisty Jones Associates >

Service Lead

Joshua Harding-Jones

Senior Consultant

  • Cambridge Discovery Campus: Socio-economic Impacts

    HJA were commissioned by Bridgemere Land Ltd to support a planning application for a proposed innovation centre – the Cambridge Discovery Campus (CDC) – in Hauxton, South Cambridgeshire.

  • Toads Hole Valley (Brighton and Hove) Socio-Economics ES Chapter

    HJA was appointed to deliver a socio-economics EIA chapter as part of an Environmental Statement for a residential-led mixed-use development at the Toad’s Hole Valley development site in Hove. Our work contributed to the successful approval of the new scheme in May 2022.

  • The Meta Project (Pembrokeshire) Socio-Economics EIA Chapter

    HJA was commissioned to deliver the socio-economic EIA chapter of an Environmental Statement for the Marine Energy Test Area (META) in Pembrokeshire, Wales, with the scheme being approved in December 2020 and now operational.

  • Cambridge Discovery Campus: Socio-economic Impacts

    HJA were commissioned by Bridgemere Land Ltd to support a planning application for a proposed innovation centre – the Cambridge Discovery Campus (CDC) – in Hauxton, South Cambridgeshire.

  • Toads Hole Valley (Brighton and Hove) Socio-Economics ES Chapter

    HJA was appointed to deliver a socio-economics EIA chapter as part of an Environmental Statement for a residential-led mixed-use development at the Toad’s Hole Valley development site in Hove. Our work contributed to the successful approval of the new scheme in May 2022.