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close this bookConducting Environmental Impact Assessment in Developing Countries (United Nations University, 1999, 375 p.)
close this folder8. Writing and reviewing an EIA report
Open this folder and view contents8.1 Writing an EIA report
Open this folder and view contents8.2 Review of an EIA report
Open this folder and view contents8.3 Preparing terms of reference for consultants or contractors
View the documentFURTHER READING


Report writing is an important part of any EIA study to enable communication of the findings of the study to a wide range of professionals, decision makers, administrators, and the general public. It is essential that the report be concise; the format and the presentation of the report may vary with EIA teams and practitioners.

8.1.1 Guidelines for preparing EIA reports

Each individual EIA report should ideally be tailored to fit the circumstances of the project. However, it is useful to follow certain general guidelines to fit together the essential components of the study so as to generate a coherent advisory report helpful to the decision makers as well as the general public. A brief description of the typical contents of each section of an EIA report is given below.

Chapter 1 Introduction

This chapter would be introductory in nature and should provide a background of the project. It presents a review of the existing situation and demonstrates the need for the proposed project. Details regarding the composition of the EIA study team, the budget adequacy (in professional person months), work plan, and the report organization should also form a part of this chapter.

Chapter 2 The site and surroundings

The site and surrounding areas should be described in this chapter, in accordance with the prevailing guidelines. Published literature and educational and government agencies can be the major source of information for this chapter. This information can be augmented by field studies. The chapter should include the following information.

• A description of the location and layout, including a vicinity map.

• Existing land use patterns should be described. Emphasis has to be on existing agriculture activities, presence of forest land, habitations, etc.

• Existing water use in the area is to be identified.

• Demographic profile which includes population density, population centres, and employment statistics.

• Soil profiles, including identification of soil types.

• Hydrology and water quality, which should include surface and groundwater resources, hydraulic, and water quality characteristics. Water quality parameters can be based on drinking water quality standards. Data on groundwater quality and the profile of the groundwater table, etc., should also be provided.

• Meteorology and air quality; meteorological data such as temperature, rainfall, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, and air quality data such as levels of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, hydrocarbons, etc.

• Ecology; ecological data will include a description of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in the area. Rare and endangered species, if any, will be identified.

• All the baseline information to be included in this chapter would be one year of monitoring data in the case of a detailed EIA.

Chapter 3 About the project

This chapter should describe the relevant systems of the proposed project. This should include the plant layout, inclusive of the drainage system, description of materials utilized and produced (mass balance), design criteria adopted, and the access ways to be used. Project information should be described in terms of the following activities, such as site preparation, construction, operation on site, transportation, welfare, and closure.

Amongst this classification, all major activities should be identified and shown in the form of a bar chart to convey the implementation as well as operation of the project. Any potential as well as non-routine or less frequent activities should also be paid attention to. Examples are the storage facilities, start-up, and shut down of the plant, etc.

Attributes of all the major activities should be described so as to appreciate their size and duration.

Chapter 4 Environmental effects of project operation

The anticipated impacts of the project operation on the environment should be described in this chapter. Impacts on air quality, water quality, agriculture, and aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems have to be stressed. A logical use of the information presented in Chapters 2 and 3 should form the crux of Chapter 4. EIA methods such as matrix and network, together with tools such as prediction models, may be useful at this stage. All direct and indirect (first order and higher order) impacts should be speculated at this stage. To assist in this exercise, tools of prediction modelling may also be used, if necessary.

Chapter 5 Evaluation and analysis of impact

The type of evaluation method or tool, for example, weighted/scaled matrix, network, GIS, index method, cost-benefit analysis, etc., used to quantitatively evaluate the impact due to the proposed action, should be highlighted in this part of the report. Expert systems may also be useful for this evaluation.

Chapter 6 Environmental management plan (EMP)

This chapter should describe in detail the implementation plan to be adopted by the proponent during plant operation for the mitigation, protection, or enhancement measures which are recommended in Chapter 5. The EMP documents should contain an implementation plan for each of the selective mitigative protection and enhancement measures. The chapter may be structured as follows:

• objective;
• work plan;
• implementation schedule;
• manpower requirements;
• budgetary provision for EMP.

This chapter is the most crucial and significant part of the entire EIA report. It is therefore essential that this chapter be presented with precision and clarity. It might be useful in this case to identify issues of significance due to the project and specify the corresponding mitigation measures. Representation of this in a tabular form may be useful.

Chapter 7 Environmental monitoring programmes

The proposed monitoring programmes to be implemented to monitor environmental impacts due to the operation of the project should be described in this chapter. The programmes should be initiated prior to the commencement of the construction activities. The following sections have to be discussed:

• surface water;
• groundwater;
• air quality;
• ecological - aquatic and terrestrial;
• socio-economic condition.

8.1.2 Comparison of guidelines of suggested/required components of an EIA report

Guidelines for writing an EIA report are established by most countries specifically for the EIA system followed in their country. However, what has been suggested in the preceding section is a generalized set of recommendations. In addition to various countries, aid agencies also have established guidelines for the EIA of projects supported by them. Table 8.1 presents a comparison of the recommended contents required for an EIA report.


Review serves several purposes, each requiring somewhat different review skills. Technical accuracy and completeness are assumed by using independent experts who have no vested interest in promoting development or withholding project approval.

8.2.1 Purpose of the review

An EIA will usually contain a large amount of information about the form and consequences of a development. It is the purpose of a review to:

• provide the reviewers with a framework within which to interpret this information;

• enable reviewers to assess the quality and completeness of the information relatively quickly;

• enable reviewers to make an overall judgement of the acceptability of the EIA as a planning document.

Table 8.1 Suggested/required components of an EIA report


Aid agency

World Bank





Executive summary



Yes by project team



Policy, legal, institutional framework






Project description






Baseline data






Environmental impact analysis






Cost/benefit analysis



Yes (case-by-case)



Analysis of alternatives



Yes (when applicable)



Mitigation plan






Institution building






Environmental monitoring plan












a But discussion of mitigative measures adopted in project plan. EBRD, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; IDB. Interamerican Development Bank; AsDB, Asian Development Bank; AfDB, African Development Bank.

8.2.2 Information and expertise needed for review

Reviewing is normally done by planners and other interested parties who are familiar with the requirements of the regulations relating to environmental assessment and have at least a basic, non-specialist knowledge and understanding of impact assessment methodologies and current ideas on best practice in EIA.

8.2.3 Strategy of the review

Reviewers should not attempt to refute the findings presented in an EIA report or to supplant them with conclusions of their own. Reviewers should, rather, be alert to areas of weakness, omission, or even concealment in the report. These may most often occur when certain tasks are omitted, unsuitable or ad hoc methods are used, biased or inaccurate supporting data are introduced, often without references, or the rationale or justification for conclusions is not given.

It should be noted that, in order to promote objectivity in EIA report reviewing, it is recommended that each EIA report should initially be separately reviewed by two different reviewers who should then endeavour to reconcile any differences when finalizing their joint review.

The minimum information that an EIA report should contain, in any particular case, is usually specified in the regulations of the respective country. It is clearly an important consideration in deciding the suitability of the environmental impact statement as a planning document that these minimum data should be provided.


Most of the few pieces of literature which have addressed the problem of reviewing and evaluating environmental impact statements have attempted to increase the evaluator's depth of understanding of the subject matter associated with the problem area. The evaluator, familiar with the document, then presumably is better prepared to examine the statement and either agree or disagree with its contents as developed by the author. This section presents various approaches to systematic EIA review and suggests other examples related to the review procedure classifications previously identified. Independent analysis

In order to conduct an independent analysis, the reviewer theoretically should have complete familiarity and knowledge of the proposed projects and alternatives. Utilizing this information, a "mini-EIA'' could be developed and the resultant analysis compared with the document being reviewed. If a particular EIS methodology was utilized in the analysis, the reviewer could repeat the analysis, utilizing a different methodology, and compare results. Obviously, the majority of reviews and reviewers outside the proponent agency would not have this degree of familiarity with the project and its associated alternatives and impacts. At second best, the project purpose and discussion of alternatives and description of the affected environment must be sufficiently detailed in the EIA for the reviewer to evaluate the environmental consequences of the proposal.

During the independent analysis, the reviewer can utilize points which can be developed from the outline of the EIA report content described earlier. Other summaries can be developed utilizing general document review and technical review considerations. After the review has been completed, summaries may be reported. The responsible official and/or decision maker may then utilize these summaries in determining:

• changes or modifications needed in the EIA;
• decisions to release the document for public and inter-agency review;
• decisions to proceed with, modify, or halt the project and/or alternatives. Predetermined evaluation criteria

Evaluation criteria for use by reviewers could take many forms. The form could range from a short, concise statement answering certain questions concerning the proposed activity, to a weighted checklist which portrays numerical values for different criteria which can be compared to index values. The contents of this analysis could be attached to the EIA and used in the decision-making process. Majority and minority opinion of the reviewers could also be included as another decision parameter to be considered by the responsible official.

A wide variation in mission and programmes is encountered between agencies and even within a single agency. This increases the difficulty in developing a single set of criteria that can be utilized to evaluate all federally related projects. The more specialized the agency activities, the more detailed the criteria that can be utilized, whereas the more variable the projects that can be encountered, the greater the generalization of the criteria. Generalized criteria, if properly selected, still have the capability of directing the statement review so that it is an effective tool for decision makers. Ad hoc review

A third form of review will be discussed for those who may find themselves in the position of wanting to review an EIS but not wishing to employ the detailed, structured approaches suggested above. For those reviewers, the following sequence of activities is suggested.

1 Familiarize yourself with the prescribed outline and content of the respective agency implementing the EIA. This will provide you with an idea of the general sequences and format to be expected as you examine the body of the EIA.

2 Read the summary. This will provide an overview of the project, its alternatives, and the anticipated environmental consequences.

3 Examine the table of contents to determine the location of the various parts of the EIA. Depending on your familiarity with the project and/or the affected environment, you may wish to go directly to a specific section of the document.

4 Study the content of the EIA, looking for those items specifically identified in Table 8.2.

5 Focus on issues and concerns regarding administrative, general document, and technical review concerns previously identified.

6 Evaluate the EIA on the basis of your review.

Table 8.2 General document review criteria

Area of concern


A Readability

• Write clearly
• Removal all ambiguities
• Avoid use of technical jargon; all technical terms should be clearly explained

B Consideration and focus

• Do not slant or misinterpret findings
• Avoid use of value-imparting adjectives or phrases
• Avoid confusion or mix-up among economic, environmental, and ecological impacts and productivity
• Avoid unsubstantiated generalities
• Avoid conflicting statements

C Presentation

• Use well-defined, acceptable qualitative terms
• Quantify factors, effects, uses, and activities that are readily amenable to quantification

D Data

• Identify all sources
• Use up-to-date data
• Use field data collection programmes as necessary
• Use technically approved data collection procedures
• Give reasons for use of unofficial data

E Methods and procedures

• Use quantitative estimation procedures, techniques, and models for arrival at the best estimates
• Identify and describe all procedures and models used
• Identify sources of all judgements
• Use procedures and models acceptable by professional standards

F Interpretation of findings

• Consider and discuss all impact areas before any are dismissed as not applicable
• Analyse controversial issues, and discuss the implications of all results
• Consider the implications for each area of a range of outcomes having significant uncertainty
• Analyse each alternative in detail and give reasons for not selecting it
• Scrutinize and justify all interpretations, procedures, and findings that must stand up under expert professional scrutiny

The kinds of questions that may be asked by decision makers while reviewing an EIA report are given below.

1 To what extent are both the beneficial and adverse environmental effects clearly explained?

2 How are the risks of adverse consequences evaluated and what are they?

3 What is the scope of the EIA in terms of external factors and time-lag effects?

4 What (if any) are the impacts on environmentally sensitive areas, endangered species and their habitats, and recreational/aesthetic areas?

5 What alternatives are considered: no project? other sites? other technologies?

6 What lessons from previous similar projects are incorporated?

7 How do the environmental effects change the costs and benefits of the project?

8 What adverse effects are unavoidable?

9 What public participation and review of project plans or the EIA have occurred?

10 What mitigation measures are proposed, and who is responsible for implementing them?

11 What are the parameters to be monitored so that the state of the environment can be studied throughout the project?

8.2.5 Specific document review criteria

This is a list of hierarchically arranged topics for reviewing the quality of environmental statements. There are four areas for review.

(a) Description of the development, the local environment, and the baseline conditions.

(b) Identification and evaluation of key impacts.

(c) Alternatives and mitigation of impacts.

(d) Communication of results.

(a) Description of the development, the local environment, and the baseline conditions

Description of the development.

• The purpose(s) and objectives of the development should be explained.

• The design and size of the development should be described. Diagrams, plans, or maps will usually be necessary for this purpose.

• There should be some indication of the physical presence and appearance of the completed development within the receiving environment.

• Where appropriate, the nature of the production intended to be employed in the completed development should be described, as well as the expected rate of production.

• The nature and quantities of raw materials needed during both the construction and operational phases should be described.

Site description.

• The land area taken up by the development site should be defined and its location clearly shown on a map.

• The uses to which this land will be put should be described and the different land use areas demarcated.

• The estimated duration of the construction phase, operational phase, and, where appropriate, decommissioning phase should be given.

• The numbers of workers and/or visitors entering the development site during both construction and operation should be estimated. Their access to the site and likely means of transport should be given.

• The means of transporting raw materials and products to and from the site, and the approximate quantities, should be described.


• The types and quantities of waste matter, energy, and other residual materials, and the rate at which these will be produced, should be estimated.

• The ways in which it is proposed to handle and/or treat these wastes and residuals should be indicated, together with the routes by which they will eventually be disposed of to the environment.

• The methods by which the quantities of residuals and wastes were obtained should be indicated. If there is uncertainty this should be acknowledged and ranges of confidence limits given where possible.

(Wastes include all residual process materials, effluents, and emissions. Waste energy, waste heat, noise etc., should also be considered.)

Environment description.

• The environment expected to be affected by the development should be indicated with the aid of a suitable map of the area.

• The affected environment should be defined broadly enough to include any potentially significant effects occurring away from the immediate construction site. These may be caused by, for example, the dispersion of pollutants, infrastructural requirements of the project, traffic, etc.

Baseline conditions.

• The important components of the affected environments should be identified and described. The methods and investigations undertaken for this purpose should be disclosed and should be appropriate to the size and complexity of the assessment task. Uncertainty should be indicated.

• Existing data sources should have been searched and, where relevant, utilized. These should include local authority records and studies carried out by, or on behalf of, conservation agencies and/or special interest groups.

• Local land use plans and policies should be consulted and other data collected as necessary to assist in the determination of the "baseline'' conditions, that is, the probable future state of the environment, in the absence of the project, taking into account natural fluctuations and human activities (often called the "do nothing'' scenario).

(b) Identification and evaluation of key impacts

Definition of impacts.

• A description should be given of the direct effects and any indirect, secondary, cumulative, short-, medium-, and long-term, permanent and temporary, positive and negative effects of the project.

• The above types of effect should be investigated and described with particular regard to identifying effects on or affecting humans, flora and fauna, soil, water, air, climate, landscape, material assets, cultural heritage (including architectural and archaeological heritage), and the interactions between these.

• Consideration should not be limited to events which will occur under design operating conditions. Where appropriate, impacts which might arise from non-standard operating conditions, due to accidents, should also be described.

• The impacts should be determined as the deviation from baseline conditions, that is, the difference between the conditions which would obtain if the development were not to proceed and those predicted to prevail as a consequence of it.

Identification of impacts.

• Impacts should be identified using a systematic methodology such as project-specific checklists, matrices, panels of experts, consultations, etc. Supplementary methods (e.g., cause/effect of network analyses) may be needed to identify secondary impacts.

• A brief description of the impact identification methods should be given, as should the rationale for using them.

• Methods should be used which are capable of identifying all significant impacts.


• There should be a genuine attempt to contact the general public and special interest groups, clubs, societies, etc., to appraise them of the project and its implications.

• Arrangements should be made to collect the opinions and concerns of relevant public agencies, special interest groups, and the general public. Public meetings, seminars, discussions groups, etc., may be arranged to facilitate this.

• Key impacts should be identified and selected for more intense investigation. Impact areas not selected for thorough study should nevertheless be identified and the reasons they require less detailed investigation should be given.

Prediction of impact magnitude.

• The data used to estimate the magnitude of the main impacts should be sufficient for the task and should be clearly described or their sources be clearly identified. Any gaps in the required data should be indicated and the means used to deal with them in the assessment should be explained.

• The methods used to predict impact magnitude should be described and be appropriate to the size and importance of the projected impact.

• Where possible, predictions of impacts should be expressed in measurable quantities with ranges and/or confidence limits as appropriate. Qualitative descriptions, where these are used, should be as fully defined as possible (e.g., "insignificant means not perceptible from more than 100 m distance'').

Assessment of impact significance.

• The significance to the affected community and to society in general should be described and clearly distinguished from impact magnitude. Where mitigating measures are proposed, the significance of any impact remaining after mitigation should also be described.

• The significance of an impact should be assessed, taking into account appropriate national and international quality standards where available. Account should also be taken of the magnitude, location, and duration of the impact in conjunction with national and local societal values.

• The choice of standards, assumptions, and value systems used to assess significance should be justified and any contrary opinions should be summarized.

(c) Alternatives and mitigation of impacts


• Alternative sites should have been considered where these are practicable and available to the developer. The main environmental advantages and disadvantages of these should be discussed and the reasons for the final choice given.

• Where available, alternative processes, designs, and operating conditions should have been considered at an early stage of project planning and the environmental implications of these investigated and reported where the proposed project is likely to have significantly adverse environmental impacts.

• If unexpectedly severe adverse impacts are identified during the course of the investigation, which are difficult to mitigate, alternatives rejected in the earlier planning phases should be re-appraised.

Scope of effectiveness of mitigation measures.

• The mitigation of all significant adverse impacts should be considered and, where practicable, specific mitigation measures should be put forward. Any residual or unmitigated impacts should be indicated and justification offered as to why these impacts should not be mitigated.

• Mitigation methods considered should include modification of the project, compensation, and the provision of alternative facilities as well as pollution control.

• It should be clear to what extent the mitigation methods will be effective when implemented. Where the effectiveness is uncertain or depends on assumptions about operating procedures, climatic conditions, etc., data should be introduced to justify the acceptance of these assumptions.

Commitment to mitigation.

• There should be a clear record of the commitment of the developer to the mitigation measures presented in the statement. Details of how the mitigation measures will be implemented and function over the time span for which they are necessary should also be given.

• Monitoring arrangements should be proposed to check the environmental impacts resulting from the implementation of the project and their conformity with the predictions within the statement. Provision should be made to adjust mitigating measures where unexpected adverse impacts occur. The scale of these monitoring arrangements should correspond to the likely scale and significance of deviations from expected impacts.

(d) Communication of results


• The layout of the statement should enable the reader to find and assimilate data easily and quickly. External data sources should be acknowledged.

• There should be an introduction briefly describing the project, the aims of the environmental assessment, and how those aims are to be achieved.

• Information should be logically arranged in sections or chapters and the whereabouts of important data should be signalled in a table of contents or index.

• Unless the chapters themselves are very short, there should be chapter summaries outlining the main findings of each phase of the investigation.

• When data, conclusions, or quality standards from external sources are introduced, the original source should be acknowledged at that point in the text. A full reference should also be included either with the acknowledgement, at the bottom of the page, or in a list of references.


• Information should be presented so as to be comprehensible to the non-specialist. Tables, graphs, and other devices should be used as appropriate. Unnecessarily technical or obscure language should be avoided.

• Technical terms, acronyms, and initials should be defined, either when first introduced into the text or in a glossary. Important data should be presented and discussed in the main text

• The statement should be presented as an integrated whole. Summaries of data presented in separately bound appendices should be introduced in the main body of the text.


• Prominence and emphasis should be given to potentially severe adverse impacts as well as to potentially substantial favourable environmental impacts. The statement should avoid disproportionate space to impacts which have been well investigated or are beneficial.

• The statement should be unbiased; it should not lobby for any particular point of view. Adverse impacts should not be disguised by euphemisms or platitudes.

Non-technical summary.

• There should be a non-technical summary of the main findings and conclusions of the study. Technical terms, lists of data, and detailed explanations of scientific reasoning should be avoided.

• The summary should cover all the main issues discussed in the statement and contain at least a brief description of the project and the environment, an account of the main mitigation measures to be undertaken by the developer, and a description of any significant residual impacts. A brief explanation of the methods by which these data were obtained, and an indication of the confidence which can be placed in them, should also be included.


Many EIAs are performed by consulting companies for the project proponents. The tasks to be carried out by the consultant are best directed and judged by terms of reference (TOR). To develop an optimum TOR, the project proponent needs to have their own team and brainstorm on some of the major environmental issues, options, and alternatives. A well placed TOR often provides much of its solution and reduces the cost of consultancy services. However, additional studies may be suggested during negotiations or during execution of the study.

The clarity and comprehensiveness of the TOR is a crucial step in determining the nature of the EIA report, which is the final communiquf the entire study to the decision makers and the various stakeholders in the project. The EIA report is eventually a reflection of the requirements and studies specified in the TOR.

8.3.1 Checking out the consulting organization

The consulting organization should be checked for the presence of a multi-disciplinary team of subject experts. The expertise generally needed should encompass areas such as:

• civil and environmental engineering;
• chemical and environmental engineering;
• environmental monitoring;
• life sciences with training in ecology;
• air pollution meteorology and modelling;
• social sciences.

Preferably, much of the above expertise should be in-house, employed by the consulting company, and not in the form of associates. Associates may be available to handle specialized areas such as risk assessment and design of green belts. In the case of associates, institutional support may be preferred. If institutional support is cited for environmental monitoring, then it is advisable to check out the status of the laboratories in terms of equipment and analytical expertise available.

The interdisciplinary team set up should have prior experience of the EIA process in the developing countries concerned and the methodology and tools used in EIA. The project manager must have formal exposure to the subject and should have completed/supervised a minimum of two or three EIA studies.

It is important to check on the manpower planning proposed by the consulting company vis-is their on-going commitments to ensure they meet their schedules. Some companies have excellent interdisciplinary teams and a project manager on paper, but the team may be already booked on other EIA contracts.

There are two possible methods to choose a consultant. One method is to hire consultant A for the project contract and consultant B for the EIA. The proponent in this case needs to orchestrate a coordination between the two consultants to achieve an effect of concurrent EIA. This requires good coordination skills with the team of the project proponent.

The other method is to include EIA in the scope of consultant A and provide a "turn key'' assignment to engineer and clear the project. The responsibility of conducting an EIA study is thus assigned to consultant A. Here, the proponent has relatively less interaction with the environmental consultant unless this is mentioned in the TOR for consultant A.

In either of the methods, the make-up of the team for an EIA study is as follows. An EIA advisor/consultant hired by the project proponent to protect the project's interests and do coordination, supervision, and review, attend meetings, etc. An EIA consulting company which would do the tasks of running the EIA study, prepare reports, attend meetings, and do any follow-up studies, etc. A network of experts and institutions may be identified which would provide support to the EIA consulting company for specialized activities such as monitoring of specific pollutants, carrying out flora and fauna related studies, carry out risk assessments, etc. These institutions should be reputable and of high standing.

8.3.2 Strategy for formulating TOR

It is a good idea to develop an initial TOR with the help of the project team and EIA advisor. To make such a formulation the team must visit the project site, carry out a scoping exercise, list all the alternatives, and identify issues of concern. (Alternatives generally refer to different project sites and options refer to possibilities in selecting production technologies, etc.) Unless such an exercise is performed, it is difficult to develop a well focused, balanced, and optimum TOR for the EIA study.

The EIA advisor should then be asked to step up the exercise from scoping level to IEE level, but only to scrutinize the alternatives and options. This step is necessary to arrive at a few potential alternatives and options which may need further evaluation. In this step, the project team which is responsible for the technical/engineering design of the project would play a very crucial role. In most situations, the latter is not done and hence "real alternatives'' and "real options'' are never produced.

For the examination of alternatives and options, some background information is needed on the environmental settings of the project sites, which is collected through secondary sources of information and site visits. Much depends here on the experience of the EIA advisor.

After the basic alternatives and options have been debated, on both the environmental and technical angles, a TOR for further studies is written. Here the project proponent may consider engaging the consultant with the help of the EIA advisor.

The EIA process that follows typically has two components. One is procedural and follows the table of contents and documents listed under the respective legislation. The second is analytical, where interpretations and conclusions drawn from the information collected in the procedural sequence are put to the best use, that is, to develop sound environmental management plans. It is important that this spirit of the EIA exercise is conveyed to the consultant. Many consultants follow only the procedural process to obtain the clearance for the project proponent, but fail to produce a workable and environmentally sound management plan to address the environmental issues. In fact, the latter is the principle objective of the EIA exercise.

To get the best results from the consultant, therefore, the project proponent needs to set several milestones of reports/workshops in the TOR to increase the interaction with the environmental consultant. In each of these interactions, the proponent should insist that the consultant comes for the meeting with specified data/results with its entire team and should ask that the company's project team is present. Eye to eye contact is most important here. The meeting should be chaired by the chief executive officer (CEO) of the company in assistance with the EIA advisor.

In many cases, the TOR for EIA are not specifically written and a reference is made to the various requirements of the EIA notification. The ultimate objective of obtaining environmental clearance is thus governing the TOR. Most consulting companies are familiar with filling up the EIA questionnaire, but translation of the questionnaire into an EIA study to develop an EMP is the crucial step.

One of the ways to guide the consultant for the preparation of the study is to provide a sample table of contents for the EIA report.

Many EIAs are performed by consulting firms under contract to environmental agencies or project proponents. The consultant proposes a statement of work in response to a request for a proposal which contains instructions or TOR. After negotiation of the scope, schedules, and price, a contract is executed. A good definition of a problem often provides much of its solution and reduces the cost of contract services. It is essential that the major environmental concerns be identified and a search for other likely consequences of development be specifically requested in the TOR. For competitively bid contracts, the consultant will seldom add tasks, for fear that the resulting costs will keep the firm from being awarded the job. During negotiations, however, additional studies may be suggested. Hence, the buyer must have an understanding of what is needed in order to avoid paying for unnecessary services. It is also important to request the form of analysis and presentation appropriate to the use of the EIA (i.e., extended benefit/cost analysis, comparative risk assessment, cost effectiveness).

The clarity and comprehensiveness of the TOR is a crucial step in determining the nature of the EIA report, as this is the final communiquf the entire study to decision makers and the various stakeholders in the project. The EIA report is eventually a reflection of the requirements and studies specified in the TOR.

The technical contents of a TOR typically include:

• the objective of the EIA - what decisions will be made, by whom, a timetable, what kinds of advice are required, what is the stage of the project?

• components of the project - sites, technologies, inputs of energy, and materials anticipated;

• preliminary scope of EIA - should include geography, region, lifetime of project, externalities, and major anticipated concerns about environmental changes and consequences;

• impacts - major anticipated impacts on human health and welfare and on ecosystems;

• mitigation - mitigation measures possible, including reasonable alternative project designs for achieving the development objective;

• monitoring - estimated monitoring necessary for feedback of operations, for detecting environmental consequences, and judging whether mitigation measures have been implemented;

• type of study required (e.g., benefit/cost analysis, land-use plan, pollution control regulation, simulation model, comparison of sites or technologies, risk assessment);

• staff level of effort, skills required, cost estimate, and deadlines for completion of tasks.

The preliminary environmental assessment prepared by the project proponent should have most of the preceding information in qualitative form and may be appended to the TOR for guidance.

Non-technical requirements in the TOR include:

• stipulation of references and data to be provided by the buyer;
• frequency and subject of meetings and progress reports;
• opportunities for review and comment on draft reports;
• prior approval of changes in contractor personnel;
• payment schedules;
• liability insurance;
• printing, distribution of reports; and
• coordination requirements.


Reviewing the Quality of Environmental Statements Part B - Environmental Statement Review 1, N. Lee and R. Colley, EIA Centre, Department of Planning and Landscape, University of Manchester.

How to Assess Environmental Impacts on Tropical Islands and Coastal Areas, eds. R. A. Carpenter and J. E. Maragos, prepared by Environment and Policy Institute East-West Center, October 1989.