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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Environmental Impact Assessment (PGGE11009)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryEnvironmental Impact Assessment can be described as a decision-making tool, a legislative instrument and a formalised environmental management process. It exists to enable precautionary measures to be incorporated into project and policy planning for the protection of environmental and human systems. EIA allows determination of the potential impacts of development on environmental quality, social well-being and regional economies.

The objective of this course is to provide a working knowledge of current environmental, social and economic impacts and methods relating to EIA, and consider in detail how these impacts can be quantified and analysed.

The course provides an overview of the legislative framework of EIA and explains the EIA process, providing examples of techniques used in impact assessment relating to topics including soils, ecology and landscape. Much of the teaching input to the course is provided by external practitioners specialising in certain aspects of the EIA process, including developers, representatives from local government and other key stakeholders such as SNH, as well as EIA consultants.

The course also provides an opportunity to review and appraise the EIA process and associated techniques through investigation of an EIA case study.

Course description Week Date Topic Lecturer / Speaker
1 15 Jan Introduction to environmental assessment
History of EIA
Tutorial exercise- Introduction to EIA
Introduction to the Course
Assessment A coursework hand out Gina Martin,
2 22 Jan SEA, EIA & HRA

Legislative framework for SEA & EIA in Scotland
Antonia Georgieva-Diaz,
Scottish Government Gina Martin, SRUC
3 29 Jan The EIA process
Role of EIA in Decision-making
Who is involved in EIA?
Strengths & weaknesses of EIA Gina Martin, SRUC
4 5 Feb Screening
Tutorial exercise- screening
Scoping in EIA Alternatives Gina Martin, SRUC

5 12 Feb Introduction to the Assessment B case study & the
formative exercise
Effective EIA scoping ¿ a Consultee¿s perspective
Gina Martin, SRUC

Dr Jim Mackay, sepa
6 19 Feb Online formative assessment exercise ¿ Scoping
Online activity
7 26 Feb Impact assessment and mitigation

Tutorial exercise¿ Impact Prediction
Assessment A due Monday 1st March, 12 noon
Gina Martin, SRUC

Graham Cann & Rachel McEvan, wsp
8 5 Mar Topics in EIA: Climate change adaptation & mitigation
Clare Wharmby, Carbon Forecast
9 12 Mar Topics in EIA: Ecology & Biodiversity

GIS &AI applications in EIA Chris Smilie, SRUC

Alistair Hamilton, SRUC
10 19 Mar Topics in EIA: Landscape assessment in EIA

Social impact assessment in EIA Peter Dunmow, hepla

Jean Welstead, Welstead Galloway
11 26 Mar The Environmental Report
Review, decision-making and monitoring
Gina Martin, SRUC

12 2 Apr Assessment Q&A
Tutorial exercise ¿ Quality in EIA

Assessment B due Monday 12th April, 12 noon

** Please note: The timetable will be subject to revision, depending on changes in availability of internal and external speakers. Students will be advised of any changes as soon as is possible and every effort will be made to provide suitable alternatives.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThere is a cap of 5 on the number of non School of GeoSciences students ¿ please contact the course secretary ( for available space prior to registering on this course.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  45
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 44, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 152 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Feedback Students will receive formative feedback following submission of their Formative Assessment. Feedback will be given on the Summative Assessments submitted via Learn through the ¿Turnitin¿ grademarker which will be used to attach comments throughout submitted documents.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Gain an understanding of the role of SEA & EIA in decision making
  2. Gain an overview of the legislative framework for EIA, with a focus towards its application in Scotland
  3. Have knowledge of the EIA process and stages, and how it is applied to specific topic areas, such as landscape and visual impact assessment, ecology, soils and climate change, including its application
  4. Be skilled in review and appraisal of the EIA process and its outputs
Reading List
There are no set texts for the course. Relevant reading materials are located in the Course Content folder alongside each week's lecture materials.
Relevant updates to EIA legislation and guidance can be found on the appropriate government websites, for example:
The EIA process is found in a number of standard texts which can be found in the University or SRUC libraries.
An overview of the EIA process and topics in EIA is available from:

Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsEnvironmental Impact Assessment,Development,Planning,Policy
Course organiserDr Chris Smillie
Course secretaryMrs Elspeth Martin
Tel: 0131 535 4198
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