Issues surrounding significance determinations in environmental assessment from legal and sustainable development perspectives.

Paul Damien Mitchell


Determining the significance of impacts is integral in environmental assessment processes. Many environmental laws function around such ideas. This essay examines the issues in significance determination processes and explores them in the context of sustainable development. The conception of scale can influence the significance of impacts which leads to environmental and social issues. Furthermore the perception of positive impacts can be problematic. Finally, lack of scientific rigour results in poor significance determinations within the context of biodiversity assessment. Determining the significance of impacts is a relative process which needs to weigh carefully among differing interests.


Environmental Assessment; Environmental Law; Sustainable Development.

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