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Impact Assessment and Onshore Pipelines Imogen Crawford

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Impact Assessment and Onshore Pipelines Imogen Crawford. Proposition. EIA as it stands is not effective EIA doomed to failure in some legal systems Qualified: EIA as it relates to Construction of Onshore Pipelines Not necessarily the same in other contexts. Onshore Pipelines.

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Impact Assessment

and Onshore Pipelines

Imogen Crawford

  • EIA as it stands is not effective
  • EIA doomed to failure in some legal systems


  • EIA as it relates to Construction of Onshore Pipelines
  • Not necessarily the same in other contexts
onshore pipelines
Onshore Pipelines
  • Cross country for 100’s of Kilometres
  • Approx 50m wide cleared strip
  • Many different habitats
  • Seasonal constraints - hibernation, salmon run
  • Habitat fragmentation and barrier to species movement
  • Barrier to stock movement
  • Social impacts– traffic, camps in traditional villages
onshore pipelines1
Onshore Pipelines
  • Tight control difficult with many work fronts and equipment movement
  • Pipelaying is fast moving and multifaceted
  • BUT – it can be put back together:
  • Reinstatement starts at the beginning
environmental impact assessment essential but
Environmental Impact Assessmentessential but………
  • EIAs are written at early conceptual stage
  • Purpose - for the approval process
  • Of necessity, generic in scope
  • Often with no/minimal field visit
  • A ‘one off’ piece of work
  • Package of specialist reports, not synthesised
  • Produced by ‘experts’, so not critically reviewed by other parties
environmental impact assessment falling short
Environmental Impact Assessment..falling short
  • A ‘finshed’ piece of work
  • Disconnected from Construction phase
  • Often stalls at this point, now legal requirement satisfied


  • A company’s Environmental Management System continues the concept as a process


  • It is driven on by stakeholder interest, like Lending Banks
environmental impact assessment in the real world
Environmental Impact Assessmentin the real world

Next stage is a process and the most exciting….

Identification – Mitigation – Monitoring – Review

It is:

  • Job specific
  • Location specific
  • Participatory, involving other, non environmental professionals
  • Dynamic, ongoing and integrated process
  • A Training tool for Environmental Awareness
legislative context
Legislative Context
  • EIA developed within European legal system
  • Integrated Environmental Management
  • Ease of process implementation dependant on legal context
legislative context1
Legislative Context

In natural environment context

eg English Law is:

  • Focussed on damage avoidance
  • Choice of mitigation measures at the time of impact
  • Uses the concept of IEM and ‘Best Practice’

eg Russian Law is:

  • Based on compensatory system, pre-supposes damage
  • Prescriptive, rigid and and
  • Set limits and payments rather than preventive mitigation
  • Mitigation likely to be inappropriate, but locked into the Permit/License to operate
legislative context2
Legislative Context

In Russia EIA is impossible to implement

          • Command and control ethos
          • Compensation for damage pre-paid
          • Inflexible and rigid mind set
          • Generic approach, denying the specific

And of course,

  • Compensation system – suits

large companies

discussion points
Discussion Points
  • Has the EIA stalled in practice?
  • Does the success of an EIA process depend on its legislative context?