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Cumulative effects in Swedish impact assessment practice

Wärnbäck, Antoienette (2007). Cumulative effects in Swedish impact assessment practice. Rapporter (Institutionen för stad och land, SLU). 2007:3 :2007:3
[Research article]

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The overall objective of this thesis is to investigate how cumulative effects (CE) are considered in the Swedish context of impact assessment. CE can be explained to be the changes to the environment that are caused by an action in combination with other past, present and reasonable foreseeable future actions. Specific questions to examine are: • What is the EU and Swedish legislative basis for including CE? • How do the impact assessment actors implementing the Swedish legislation perceive their work with CE. Questions addressed in relation to this are the actors: - knowledge base of the term and concept of CE, and also their perception of the requirements to consider these types of effects; - knowledge base of how to work with CE in practice; attitudes towards and expressed ability to include CE in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) and strategic environmental assessment (SEA) process; - experienced difficulties and obstacles to include CE in the EIA/SEA process. The methods used are mainly qualitative and include literature studies, document analysis and semistructured interviews. The results show that there is a lack of both legislative as professionally based incitements for including CE. An extensive amount of difficulties and obstacles as perceived by the EIA/SEA actors and in relation to the inclusion of CE in EIA and SEA is outlined. All the EIA/SEA actors showed to have some idea about the phenomenon. Even though the actor’s will to act i.e. to include these effects, is in place, their ability to act is hampered by factors connected to knowing that (knowledge on requirements to include CE in the EIA/SEA process) and knowing how (knowledge in relation to how to approach cumulative issues e.g. methods for evaluation of CE). The almost non existent practice in relation to assessment of cumulative impacts in Sweden is hardly surprising considering the existing and thus far rather vague demands in respect of the inclusion and assessment of CE in Swedish EIA and SEA legislation, regulations, guidelines and handbooks. The existing drafts of forthcoming general guidelines and the handbook for SEA do however include the term CE. To what extent these new wordings will lead to the more routine inclusion and assessment of CE will however remain dependent on the various conditions and obstacles identified in this study, namely, professional knowledge and skill relating to the use of methods to assess CE, support and demands from colleagues, reviewers and proponents to include and assess CE, the existence of relevant databases suitable for assessing CE, sufficient time and financial resources, scoping in time and space that enables CE to be included in the EIA work and the emergence of an impact assessment attitude and practice that includes CE.

Authors/Creators:Wärnbäck, Antoienette
Title:Cumulative effects in Swedish impact assessment practice
Series Name/Journal:Rapporter (Institutionen för stad och land, SLU)
Year of publishing :2007
Number of Pages:67
I.Oscarsson, A. (2006). "Lack of Incitement in the Swedish EIA/SEA Process to Include Cumulative Effects" in Emmelin, L (ed), 2006, Effective environmental assessment tools - critical reflections on concepts and practice. Karlskrona.
II.Wärnbäck, A., and T. Hilding-Rydevik (2007). Cumulative effects in Swedish impact assessment practice – difficulties and obstacles. Submitted to "Environmental Impact Assessment Review"
Place of Publication:Uppsala
Publisher:Dept. of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
ISBN for printed version:978-91-85735-02-0
Publication Type:Research article
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:P Natural resources > P01 Nature conservation and land resources
Subjects:Obsolete subject words > FORESTRY, AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES and LANDSCAPE PLANNING > Landscape planning > Nature conservation and landscape management
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 105 Earth and Related Environmental Sciences > Environmental Sciences (social aspects to be 507)
Agrovoc terms:environmental impact assessment, environmental legislation, sweden, european union
Keywords:EIA, SEA, cumulative effects, EIA and SEA directives, Swedish environmental legislation, EIA practice
Permanent URL:
ID Code:1468
Faculty:NL - Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences (until 2013)
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Deposited By: Antoienette Wärnbäck
Deposited On:21 May 2007 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:12

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