Digital Environmental Assessment primer

IEMA’s Proportionate EIA Strategy has identified digital impact assessment (digital IA) as one of the four key solutions to proportionate assessment, and in 2018 set up a working group of members on the subject. 

In March 2020, the working group released Digital Environmental Assessment: A Primer for Embracing Innovation and Digital Working. 

The primer is intended to raise awareness of current digital IA practices, their potential for contributing to better outcomes in IA, and the issues and challenges faced in doing so. An overview of the primer was provided in a webinar in February, a recording of which is available on

The primer has been developed to generate comment and discussion, upon which future guidance and institutional and regulatory change can be built. To this end, the primer includes 7 Draft Principles for Digital IA, as well as a roadmap of future actions and ambitions for digital IA practice. 

The primer is part of a wider campaign to assist members with the digital transition, and is to be followed by Volume 6 of IEMA’s Impact Assessment Outlook Journal. This will be on Digital IA in Practice, providing real-world case studies and examples from IEMA members and EIA Quality Mark organisations to supplement the primer. 

IEMA is currently collaborating with the digital working group to launch a digital web-based version of Volume 6 to supplement the normal PDF publication. 

Finally, we plan to take the primer and Volume 6 journal on tour with a series of member events across the regions. The first two events planned are for Leeds (29 April) and Birmingham (30 April); in light of the unfolding Covid-19 situation, however, these may be postponed or run remotely.

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