Environmental Appraisals & Assessment and Environmental Scoping Studies

Environmental Appraisals and Assessment (EAA) and Environmental Scoping Studies (ESS) are rapid forms of environmental assessments. They determine baseline environmental conditions of a given area that a Developer wishes to develop. EAA and ESS identify potential impacts associated with any proposed development and suggests appropriate mitigative measures to minimise those impacts based on the following:

  • flora and fauna observed during site visits;
  • habitat type(s) found at the study site (i.e. terrestrial, littoral, and marine);
  • structure of the physical environment (e.g. topography, bathymetry etc.);
  • chemical nature of the environment (e.g. water quality analysis); and
  • the type of development being proposed by the Developer.

EAA and ESS can be used as standalone documents for the Developer, or as supplemental data for limited environmental impact assessments (LEIA) or full environmental impact assessments (EIA).

Environmental Consulting

A form of environmental compliance where the Consultant ensures that the Client/Developer maintains an appropriate measure of compliance with established environmental regulations. This may include, but is not limited to, advising the Client of the various regulations related to the proposed development so that they can steer clear of possible fines, legal action and so forth.

Environmental Impact Assessments (Full and Limited)

Environmental impact Assessments (EIA) and limited environmental impact assessments (LEIA), a modified EIA, are the process of estimating and evaluating significant short-term and long-term effects of a project based on some criteria, such as a matrix, and identifying ways to minimise, mitigate or eliminate those effects and/or compensate for their impact. EIA and LEIA may consist of the following:

  • outlining the project in terms of the overall development and rationale;
  • describing the environmental baseline conditions of an area;
  • presenting findings in an environmental impact assessment;
  • predicting & evaluating the likely impacts of project on the baseline data;
  • proposing measures to mitigate any significant negative impacts;
  • assessing the socio-economic context of the development;
  • make recommendations based on the findings of the study;
  • involving the public and other interested or affected parties during the EIA process; and
  • describe proposed project alternatives.

Environmental Monitoring

In the British Virgin Islands, development projects are granted approval by the Planning Authority of the Virgin Islands. As part of the terms of conditional approval, some projects may require the Developer to hire a Special Inspector/Environmental Monitoring Officer. The Special Inspector is responsible for monitoring the progress of the approved development based on the submission of the EIA or LEIA and thus serves as the Government’s eyes and ears. The Special Inspector must be approved by the Planning Authority before construction can commence, and is responsible for reporting to the Planning Authority as agreed upon.

Environmental Management and Monitoring Plans

An environmental management and monitoring plan (EMMP) is a site and project specific document that outlines the management structure and proposed mitigation measures that should be implemented during all phases (demolition, construction, operation and decommissioning) of the development. The mitigation measures in an EMMP do not include those that were implemented during the design phase of the project as these are typically outlined in the impact assessment. The terms of reference for the EMMP are generally the same as those provided by the appropriate governing agency for the submission of a LEIA or EIA. Unlike a LEIA or EIA, the EMMP identifies the:

  • What = the envisioned impact of the development and the proposed mitigation measure(s)
  • Who = the person(s) responsible for (1) monitoring the development and (2) executing the mitigation measure(s)
  • When = the phase of the development when the impact(s) is/are likely to occur
    Duration = how long will the development and mitigation measure(s) be monitored.