Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is defined as a systematic process to identify, predict and evaluate the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment. The prime purpose of EIA is to identify any significant environmental effects of a certain project, and where possible to design mitigation measures to reduce or remedy those effects, in advance of any decision to authorise the construction of the project.
As a decision making tool, EIA ensures consideration of environmental concerns within the planning process.
EIA process takes place in three specific stages:
-Screening (decision on whether or not EIA is required for a particular project)
-Scoping (identification the content and extent of the environmental information to be submitted to the competent authority under the EIA procedure)
-Review (establishing whether an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is adequate for the competent authority to use it to inform the decision on development consent)
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a tool for integrating environmental considerations into the preparation and adoption of certain plans and programmes which are likely to have significant effects on the environment. The prime purpose of SEA is to identify and evaluate the environmental consequences of proposed policies, plans or programmes at the earliest possible stage of decision making process. One of the SEA specific objective is to promote sustainable development.