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2017/18 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG5830M Environmental Assessment

15 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Gordon Mitchell
Email: g.mitchell@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module (a) provides a vocationally oriented introduction to the principles and practice of environmental assessment (EA); (b) develops an awareness of the historical development of EA, its scope, processes and techniques, and current legislation (principally EU / UK); and (c) provides an integrating framework for knowledge and skills gained elsewhere. The course does not provide detailed instruction on specific tools applied in specific disciplinary areas (e.g. how to run a pollutant dispersion model); rather, students will gain an appreciation of the wider context for the application of such tools within EA techniques such as Environmental Impact Assessment, Strategic Environmental Appraisal, Risk Assessment, Multi-criteria appraisal, environmental justice analysis and sustainability appraisal.

Objectives

This purpose of this module is to: (a) provide a vocationally oriented introduction to the principles and practice of environmental assessment (EA); (b) develop an awareness of the historical development of EA, its scope, processes and techniques, and current legislation (principally EU / UK); and (c) provide an integrating framework for knowledge and skills gained elsewhere. The course does not provide detailed instruction on specific tools applied in specific disciplinary areas (e.g. how to run a pollutant dispersion model); rather, students will gain an appreciation of the wider context for the application of such tools.
On completion of the module, students should be able to:
demonstrate a knowledge of the principles and practice of environmental assessment, and relevant EU and UK legislation;
demonstrate an advanced level of knowledge of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process and its application;
understand and be familiar with a range of other environmental and sustainability assessment approaches applicable at a range of scales, including product, project and strategic level;
critically evaluate the role of environmental assessment processes in promoting environmental protection and sustainable development.

Learning outcomes
The module is best suited to those who are interested in learning how environmental sciences are applied in impact appraisal to support public and private decision making (e.g. re infrastructure development, investment, planning). Many graduates choosing a career with an environmental element (e.g. planner, regulator, developer, consultant) begin in roles where they draw on specific technical skills (such as modelling, or GIS) and subject knowledge (e.g. water quality, or ecology) which have been acquired elsewhere in their academic career. An understanding of environmental assessment process and practice will enable you to see how your applied skills and knowledge are used in decision making, and will support career progression beyond the technical roles typical of entry level jobs.

Skills outcomes
A Knowledge and Understanding:
A1 The dynamic nature of geographical thought and practice and the inter-relationships between the discipline and the physical and natural sciences, the social sciences and humanities
A2 The diversity of global environments and the operation of, and inter-relationships between physical and biological systems over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales
A3 Patterns and processes of environmental change and their inter-relationships with human activities
A9 The theory and application of quantitative, visualisation and other spatial techniques across a wide range of geographical contexts
A10 The contribution of geography to development of environmental political, economic and cultural agendas, policies and practices.

B Cognitive skills:
B1 Abstraction and synthesis of information from a variety of sources
B2 Assessment and critical evaluation of the merits of contrasting theories, explanations, policies
B3 Critical analysis and interpretation of data and text
B4 Developing reasoned arguments
B5 Solving problems and making reasoned decisions.

C Practical/professional skills:
C1 Plan, design, execute and report geographical research both individually and as part of a team
C4 Collect, interpret and synthesise different types of quantitative and qualitative geographical data
C5 Recognise the ethical issues involved in geographical debates and enquiries.

D Key skills:
D1 Learn in familiar and unfamiliar situations
D2 Communicate effectively (in writing, verbally and through graphical presentations)
D3 Apply numerical and computational skills to geographical information
D4 Use information technology effectively (including use of spreadsheet, database and word processing programmes; Internet and e-mail)
D5 Identify, retrieve, sort and exchange geographical information using a wide range of sources
D6 Work as part of a team and to recognise and respect the viewpoints of others
D7 Manage time and organise work effectively.


Syllabus

Course introduction; Appraisal before environmental appraisal (EA); What is EA?; The environmental impact assessment (EIA) process; Origins and spread of EIA.
- Legal context for EIA; EIA first steps.
-Assessment in EIA: impact identification, analysis and prediction, significance; Case study.
-Post-assessment processes in EIA: mitigation; reporting; reviewing; decision making.
-Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Sustainability Appraisal: origins; legislation; process and practice. Case studies (air quality, urban land use & transport planning).
-Environmental risk assessment, including water and air pollution case studies.
-Multi-criteria appraisal.
-Winners and losers (impact distribution) - equity and justice in environmental appraisal (EJA); Background, methods, interpretation and remediation.
-Towards integrative appraisal (IA): EA and sustainable development; Emerging techniques in EA; values and interests in decision making; participation and reconciliation; integration.
-Other content may address Cumulative effects assessment (including Salt End case study), ecological impact assessment, environmental valuation or other topical issues. One session may be delivered by a guest speaker from industry.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Lecture112.0022.00
Private study hours128.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

To undertake reading, research and preparation of assessed work

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

In lecture technical exercises and discussions; assessed essays.

Methods of assessment


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,500 words70.00
Problem SheetWorkbook (Short questions) 1,500 words30.00
PracticalIn lecture exercises0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 26/04/2017

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