Award: 10 credits at level 4
Duration: 12 weeks
Start Date: 09/09/2013 (Semester 1)

ERM40450 Impact Assessment Procedures


This module is for students in Semester 1 of the MSc, Graduate Diploma or Certificate in Environmental Sustainability (Negotiated Learning) course.

What will I study?

This module will cover:

  • policy assessment
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of plans and programmes
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) at project level
  • Environmental Management Systems (EMS)
  • Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)
  • Cumulative Effects Assessment (CEA). Other legislation impacting on EIA/SEA: Appropriate Assessments: Birds, Habitats, and Water Framework Directives; Seveso & COMAH legislation
  • IPPC, Waste and Discharge Licensing. Environmental Management Systems
  • Environmental Audit and Life Cycle Analysis

Module descriptor – Overview

This distance-learning module provides an overview of Impact Assessment Procedures in line with best international practice, but with particular emphasis on their operation within Ireland and the EU.

  1. Background context is provided on attitudes to environmental management, dominance and control; planning vs. control, and sustainable development - together with insights from the historical development of Impact Assessment practice.
  2. The relationship between EU and Irish national environmental controls is addressed during coverage of EU policy and legislative structures; Environmental policies, plans and programmes; Regulations, Directives etc.; environmental liability, freedom of environmental information and access to justice.
  3. The general stages of assessment are identified and explored with reference to appropriate tools and methodologies; screening, scoping, impact identification; mitigation, monitoring, follow- up and process audit.
  4. The procedures appropriate to each level in the conceptual planning hierarchy are compared and contrasted; policy assessment; Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of plans and programmes; Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) at project level; Environmental Management Systems (EMS); Life Cycle Analysis (LCA); Cumulative Effects Assessment (CEA).
  5. Other legislation impacting on EIA/SEA: Appropriate Assessments: Birds, Habitats, and Water Framework Directives; Seveso & COMAH legislation; IPPC, Waste and Discharge Licensing. Environmental Management Systems; Environmental Audit and Life Cycle Analysis

How will I study?

The Impact Assessment Procedures module will include:
  • Lectures, videos and demonstrations by the lecturer(s)
  • Interactive learning reinforcement tasks
  • An assessable simulation exercise
  • Interactive discussion boards

Expected Commitment

Students are not required to attend any lectures at the UCD campus as part of the module. However, Students are expected to attend the final semester exam and spend a total 120 hours workload during the semester consisting of:
  • Lectures, videos and other online learning materials (throughout the semester): 24 hours
  • Assessments, project and quizzes (throughout the semester): 24 hours
  • Student Autonomous Learning: 72 hours

How will I be assessed?

In-semester assessment: 40%

2 hour end of semester, (‘seen’) written exam, whereby the question is given in advanced: 60%

On successful completion of this module I will be able to

  1. Describe and comment on the implications of environmental assessment procedures.
  2. Explain the legislative basis for, and structure of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and/or Environmental Report (ER).
  3. Critique the format of an EIS/ER.
  4. Critically assess the scope and limitations of national legislation for EIA and SEA.

Am I eligible?

Applicants must hold a minimum of a 2.2 honours level degree in a science, engineering or related discipline. Impact Assessments are procedures affecting ordinary citizens and are designed to involve those with both lay and professional interests in the subject. The module should be relevant to students from a wide variety of backgrounds.