Incorporating climate change mitigation and adaptation into environmental impact assessment: a review of current practice within transport projects in England
Climate change mitigation and adaptation can be perceived as neglected in environmental impact assessment (EIA). In the light of amendments to the European Union EIA Directive (2014), we developed a novel criteria-based review package to assess climate change mitigation and adaptation as documented in environmental statements, and applied this to a sample of 10 transport developments from England. Justifications relating to climate policy, climate science, the effect of climate change on the development and its vulnerability to climate risks were well explained in most projects. Many projects lacked detail of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures and their benefits, whilst evidence of commitment to mitigation and adaptation or to post-decision monitoring was poor or non-existent; reportedly due to costs, time constraints and absence of mandatory requirements. It is recommended that to improve the effectiveness of the consideration of climate change mitigation and adaptation in EIA, the production of guidelines, change of behaviour of EIA practitioners, more holistic consideration of climate change issues, rigorous post-decision monitoring and use of climate change terminology are more widely adopted.