Urban Environmental Management
Regional Development Planning
    CityWare: urban environmental management

      Environmental policy, impact assessment

      Urban environmental management is done within a regulatory and policy framework.

      A generic policy framework for environmental management is the ISO 14000, a family of standards related to environmental management that exists to help organizations like cities to

      • minimize how their operations (processes etc.) impacts, affects the environment (i.e. cause adverse changes to air, water, or land, public and environmental health);
      • comply with applicable laws, regulations, and other environmentally oriented requirements, and
      • continually monitor, critically review, and improve these processes.

      ISO 14000 is, in its "philosophy" similar to ISO 9000 quality management. Both standards address the process of how a service is provided, a product is produced or a city is managed: the activity rather than to the product, the service or state of the environment of the city itself.

      The basic assumption here is that good status may be difficult to assess (and agree about), but a well structured, open, participatory and well documented process (= good process) is more easily defined and monitored and would also lead to better results.

      The requirements of ISO 14000 are an integral part of the European Union's Environmental Management Scheme EMAS. EMAS's requirements are more demanding, but again mainly addressing procedural performance, legal compliance and reporting duties.

      Support for checklist and SOP based policy frameworks (like ISO 14000) and environmental impact assessment is provided by EIAxpert, a rule based expert system for environmental screening, EIAxpert works with hierarchical checklists, models and rules for impact assessment, supported by data bases such as for endangered species and biodiversity. The system supports the screening level EIA process and can link to various simulation models for assessment calculations.

      Environmental Impact Assessment in the EU is regulated by the EIA Directive (85/337/EEC) in force since 1985 and applies to a wide range of defined public and private projects; he initial Directive of 1985 and its three amendments have been codified by DIRECTIVE 2011/92/EU of 13 December 2011,

      See also: Report from the Commission on the application and effectiveness of the EIA Directive (Directive 85/337/EEC, as amended by Directives 97/11/EC and 2003/35/EC), COM/2009/0378. or a short overview of EIA methodology in the context of air quality management.

      Key indicators are derived from the respective applicable checklists, and the implementation and compliance status of the policy framework. For the impact assessment, it is the evaluation and classification of the individual problem areas and specific impacts/problems of any project under assessment.

      Important performance indicators may also include more aggregate policy level indices such as for biodiversity, climate change mitigation and adaptation, energy transition, or urban sustainability.

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