10 years of the IEMA EIA Quality Mark

RenewablesNews UK
3 min readMay 26, 2021


2021 sees the tenth anniversary of IEMA’s EIA Quality Mark.

IEMA, the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, created the Quality Mark to promote high standards for those working in the environment and sustainability sector, particularly those engaged in environmental management and in the production of EIAs — Environmental Impact Assessments. For the client, having an EIA conducted by an IEMA accredited provider gives confidence that the EIA will be industry compliant to a highly professional standard. Although EIAs are commissioned and paid for by the developers of projects, the information they contain lives in the public domain and is for the benefit of all those affected by the project, so it is essential that they provide objective, independent and transparent information.

EIA Quality Mark registrants must adhere to seven key commitments as part of its ongoing accreditation. These commitments underpin and maintain the high standards of our EIA services.scheme.

  1. EIA Management: We commit to using effective project control and management processes to deliver quality in the EIAs we co-ordinate and the Environmental Statements we produce.
  2. EIA Team Capabilities: We commit to ensuring that all our EIA staff have the opportunity to undertake regular and relevant continuing professional development.
  3. EIA Regulatory Compliance: We commit to delivering Environmental Statements that meet the requirements established within the appropriate UK EIA Regulations.
  4. EIA Context & Influence: We commit to ensuring that all EIAs we coordinate are effectively scoped and that we will transparently indicate how the EIA process, and any consultation undertaken, influenced the development proposed and any alternatives considered.
  5. EIA Content: We commit to undertaking assessments that include: a robust analysis of the relevant baseline; assessment and transparent evaluation of impact significance; and an effective description of measures designed to monitor and manage significant effects.
  6. EIA Presentation: We commit to deliver Environmental Statements that set out environmental information in a transparent and understandable manner.
  7. Improving EIA practice: We commit to enhance the profile of good quality EIA by working with IEMA to deliver a mutually agreed set of activities, on an annual basis, and by making appropriate examples of our work available to the wider EIA community.

Although it would be unthinkable today to proceed on a major development without an EIA, there was no requirement for them until 1988, when they were introduced through inclusion within the Town and Country Planning Regulations in England and Wales and by the Environment Impact Assessment Regulations in Scotland. These were in turn based on a Directive from the EU which, along with the OECD, was a major proponent of EIAs.

In the period since then, official support for renewables has varied considerably — it took a long time for the threat of climate change to gain the broad political acceptance it has today — but EIAs are now integral to the planning process of almost every major development, and they continue to evolve. Now that the UK has left the EU, new legislation is being drawn up in the shape of Environmental and Planning Bills to which EIA providers will need to adapt. EIAs are also complex documents to produce, covering multiple environmental disciplines ranging from landscape to aviation, ecology to noise.

One holder of the IEMA EIA Quality Mark is Dulas, which was one of the first to apply for, and to attain, the IEMA EIA quality mark back in 2011. Their Principal Consultant, Mike Phillips, explained why the company took this step: ‘We immediately saw that our own values and ethos were highly aligned to the ‘Seven Commitments’ that each company complying with the scheme must adhere to.’

Dulas and other holders of the IEMA EIA quality mark cannot sit back and take their accredited status for granted. Each year, they must provide submissions to the IEMA — including a current EIA — so that their continuing entitlement to hold the Mark can be assessed, giving clients independently assessed assurance of their ability to deliver high quality EIAs.



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