Upcoming digital environmental assessment primer
’Embracing innovation and digital’ is one of IEMA’s four strategic themes of action for proportionate EIA, and a growing number of EIA practitioners are seeking to implement innovation and digital working in practice. This includes the preparation of digital EIA reporting, of which several examples from live projects now exist.
In 2018, IEMA formed a new working group with the aim of advocating for and supporting digital EIA. There are three separate workstreams, with each tackling a different key issue. They are: geographic information systems, data and technology; political and regulatory acceptance; and raising the profile and communicating the benefits.
This working group has adopted a broad view of the role of ‘digital’ in environmental assessment. It was recognised that digital innovation and digital ways of working are relevant to practice beyond statutory EIA. Furthermore, if digital environmental assessment is to reach its full potential then ways of working throughout the process of environmental assessment should be examined, and aspirations for digital environmental assessment not limited to the digitalisation of reporting.
The working group will publish Digital Environmental Assessment: A Primer for Embracing Innovation and Digital Working later this year. This document will explore the current situation, opportunities and challenges presented by digital working, as well as case study examples of recent digital practice. Ideas for the future direction of digital environmental assessment will also be presented, in order to trigger discussion and focus the future direction of the working group.