Environmental assessments and Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)
As a general rule, environment assessments should always be completed before decisions are made which can seriously impact the environment.
This applies at all levels such as policies, programmes, plans and projects. For instance, bills and decisions in the Folketinget (the Danish Parliament), national or regional plans and programmes for infrastructure, building projects, energy etc., municipal plans, and specific construction projects such as building roads or establishing and expanding enterprises which are likely to seriously impact the environment.
The environmental assessments operate with a broad environmental concept. In addition to the traditional pollution parameters, there are also impacts on nature protection areas, plants and animals as well as impacts on landscape and cultural heritage, e.g. in connection with deciding where to build an installation in the landscape.
An environmental assessment itself does not give an answer to the decision to be made, but it ensures thorough analysis of the various environmental impacts. Moreover, it provides an overview of the consequences of different alternative solutions.
Environmental assessments mean better environmental decisions. An important step in the process is public consultation before the final decision is made.
The Danish Nature Agency is responsible for a number of specific environmental impact assessments.
Environmental assessment of proposals by the Folketing (the Danish Parliament)
The individual ministries carry out environmental assessments of bills, plans and reports that will have a significant impact on the environment.
Environmental assessment of plans and programmes
Environmental assessments of plans and programmes are carried out at the level before project level, before environmental impact assessments and thereby at an earlier stage in the decision-making process.
EIA is short for Environmental Impact Assessment, and it is carried out on building and construction projects before the contractor is granted permission to commence the project.