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Environmental impact assessment: a tool for sustainable development? A case study of biofuelled energy plants in Sweden
Linköping University, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technique and Management . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2002 (English)In: Environmental Impact Assessment Review, ISSN 0195-9255, Vol. 22, no 2, 129-144 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Properly performed, environmental impact assessment (EIA) is a useful tool for promoting sustainable development because it includes many components that can help facilitate intragenerational and intergenerational equity. In a case study, environmental impact statements (EISs) for Swedish biofuelled energy plants are analysed to see whether they include components vital to meet intra- and intergenerational equity, such as assessing local and global impacts, use of resources, public influence on project development, and alternative project design. The analysis shows that the environmental aspects of sustainable development on a local level are only partly met by EIA. However, global effects and effects on the management of natural resources are not assessed, excluding aspects that may affect future generations. Based on this, and since no concerns for sustainable development on a societal level were found, it is concluded that EIA practice in Sweden may not, to a full extent, serve as a tool to promote sustainable development

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 22, no 2, 129-144 p.
Keyword [en]
Environmental impact assessment, Sustainable development, Integrational equity, Intergenerational equity, Energy plant
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13782DOI: 10.1016/S0195-9255(01)00104-4OAI: diva2:21465
Available from: 2006-02-09 Created: 2006-02-09 Last updated: 2009-02-19
In thesis
1. Environmental assessments of projects and local plans in the energy and waste sectors in Sweden: Practice and potential for improvement
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental assessments of projects and local plans in the energy and waste sectors in Sweden: Practice and potential for improvement
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Early perspectives on environmental issues have in general focussed on local pollution from specific sources. However, in past decades there has been a shift in society’s perspective on environmental management towards a focus on diffuse sources of pollution and long-term and global environmental issues. A systems approach to environmental issues has also been suggested in order to avoid overlooking important environmental issues. In this thesis, the potential of two Swedish legally regulated decision-making processes, the development permission process and the local planning process in the energy and waste sectors, to meet these emerging perspectives on environmental issues is explored. The results in this thesis show that in practice the potential of the development permission process to include the emerging perspectives on environmental issues for this process has been rather low in the past, since the environmental assessments reports submitted with the applications for development permission focus to a large extent on local and technical issues. This means that environmentally relevant issues such as global and long-term impacts and resource management issues tend to have been disregarded. However,

studies of more recently made assessment reports reveal that such ssues are beginning to emerge to some extent. Furthermore, the public adds to the potential for this decision-making process, as it tends to

discuss the project from a systems perspective as well. The thesis further suggests that the institutional context of the decision-making process impedes the potential to include the emerging perspectives in some respects. For example, present legislative rules and guidelines do not include the new perspectives on environmental issues and do not allow decision-making authorities to take such issues into account. The thesis also shows that the local planning processes do not have the potential - in practice - to include environmental issues from wide perspectives. The local plans tend to focus on environmental issues from a local and technical perspective and do only to some extent include wider perspectives. It is further indicated that the interests and power of the actors within the planning processes are important factors influencing which perspectives are applied when the plan is made. To increase the potential for the local planning process to meet the demands for wider perspectives on environmental issues, the thesis therefore suggests that it is important to raise the status of local energy and waste management plans so they can have an actual impact on the development of the local technical systems. Finally, in order to increase the potential for both of the two formal decision-making processes studied in this thesis, linking the two decision-making processes would enable local planners, project developers and decision-making authorities to address impacts from a wider perspective. Linking the two processes would leave only local and project-oriented environmental issues to be discussed within the project development permission process, and the local planning process could focus on the environmental impacts of a local energy system and proposed energy projects from wider perspectives. The two processes would therefore be able to take all environmental issues relevant from a systems perspective into account.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för konstruktions- och produktionsteknik, 2006
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1000
Environmental assessment, local planning, energy, waste, decision-making
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-5700 (URN)91-85497-07-X (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-02-10, Planck, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2006-02-09 Created: 2006-02-09 Last updated: 2009-06-05

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