Environmental Impact Assessment

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a legally required assessment process where the company planning a project with foreseen impacts on the environment, must evaluate the project in terms of the levels of impact significance and create options for the proposed project.

One of the main goals of the EIA is to assist stakeholders and decision makers involved in the process to make an environmentally-oriented decision about the proposed project’s realisation. A significant role in this process belongs to the local people and public organisations. According to many researchers, public participation in project discussion at each stage of preparation is a key legal instrument which aims to minimise and prevent the possible risks of the proposed project to the environment and human health.

The process of social impact assessment (SIA) involves analysing, monitoring and managing the intended and unintended social consequences of planned developments and any social change that could be caused within or by the development process. SIAs’ primary purpose is to bring about a more sustainable and equitable biophysical and human environment.

During the last twenty years, the Barents Euro-Arctic Region has been among the most dynamic developing regions in the world. Rich mineral and bio resources and the transport potential of the Northern sea route make this region attractive and economically profitable for companies planning or already realising large-scale national and international business projects. The main investments are associated with projects in the oil and gas industry, mining industry, hydro and wind energy, and bio and nuclear energy (European High North business Yearbook 2013).

Increasing business activities contains a potential hazard to the environment and public health. This is why it is crucial already in the economic planning stage to assess as much as possible the impacts and eventual consequences of the planned project for the environment and human beings. There is also a need to take into account the indigenous peoples and their knowledge in all phases of the process.

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