Air Quality and Environmental Impact Assessment

Air Quality and Environmental Impact Assessment

In our latest news story, we look into air quality and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and how atmospheric emissions are considered throughout the process.

What is an Environmental Impact Assessment?

An Environmental Impact Assessment comprises and assessment of likely significant environmental impacts from a development. These are governed by the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017 within England. Typically, Environmental Impact Assessments are required in support of planning applications for large scale schemes and require input from a range of disciplines, including air quality. The topics are each presented as an individual Chapter within a wider document known as an Environmental Statement.

Environmental Impact Assessments comprise the following stages:

  • Screening – This initial step determines whether a scheme falls within the scope of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations. This considers the scale of the proposals against relevant criteria, as well as the potential for significant effects on the environment. It is the duty of the Local Planning Authority to provide a screening opinion based on information provided by the Applicant.
  • Scoping – This determines the range of issues that need to be assessed and reported. The Scope is agreed between the Local Planning Authority and Applicant and includes consideration of various consultee opinions.
  • Preparation – Following feedback from the Local Planning Authority, the Environmental Statement is prepared covering the agreed topics.
  • Planning Application and Consultation – The Environmental Statement is submitted alongside with wider planning application. This is then available for public consultation, as well as review by the relevant statutory consultees.
  • Decision – Following consideration of the relevant issues, the Local Planning Authority determines the application.

We explore air quality and Environmental Impact Assessments in the following Section.

Air Quality and Environmental Impact Assessment

Environmental Impact Assessments consider the potential impacts on air quality during construction and operation. This usually includes analysis of exhaust emissions, as well as fugitive dust emissions during construction. A wide variety of atmospheric emissions can also be relevant depending on the proposals.

The necessary information for the assessment is gathered through extensive liaison with the project team. The primary source of data required is the predicted number of vehicle movements associated with the development. For the majority of projects, a dispersion model is then built using ADMS-Roads software. This is then used to determine pollutant concentrations at sensitive receptors within the modelling area. These can include residential properties, schools and hospitals. The significance of air quality impacts is determined by comparing predicted pollutant concentrations with and without the development in place in the context of the relevant Institute of Air Quality Management guidance.

Assessment of fugitive dust emissions during the construction phase is usually undertaken as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment. This assesses emissions from demolition, earthworks, construction and trackout activities using a risk based approach.

Based on the assessment results, mitigation to reduce potential impacts is identified. The scale and nature of the measures depends on the significance of predicted effect, though an aim is always to minimise emissions sufficiently so residual impacts can be classified as not significant.

The findings of the various assessments are compiled and presented within an Air Quality Chapter as part of the Environmental Statement.

How Can We Help?

Redmore Environmental has extensive in undertaking Environmental Impact Assessments and production Environmental Statements. To find out how we can assist with your project, please get in touch with us today.

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