My work involves managing Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) for property projects, ranging from housing developments to commercial schemes, and from urban regeneration of brownfield sites to greenfield developments. On behalf of local planning authorities, we also undertake reviews of Environmental Statements (ESs) that have been submitted to support planning applications.
I start the day following up on a few queries with technical colleagues. One of the best things about my job is I get to talk to a lot of the business – it’s ideal for someone who’s interested in everything from air quality and noise to ecology and water quality.
After this, I take part in a design team meeting for a large urban regeneration project in London. The meeting includes the developer, the planner, the architect, and other consultants. The planning application will be in detail, so it’s important to get all the different elements of the scheme right, and often it’s a case of balancing different needs, such as making sure buildings can avoid overheating without needing to open windows if the buildings are against a busy road. At these meetings, I am often representing my technical colleagues who will have done noise and vibration or air quality analysis or ecology surveys to inform our recommendations to the design team. It’s therefore really important that I’ve spoken to technical specialists and properly understand the issues being considered – as every project is different! The key here is to understand enough of the technical details to be able to provide advice, but also be able to talk about this with a wider team.
We have a new ES to review from the local planning authority. I have a quick catch-up with a colleague who will be coordinating the review to check that they have everything they need. Once the review coordinator is ok to start contacting topic specialists for reviews of specific ES chapters, my attention turns to the non-technical aspects of the ES. I’m looking to see whether the ES includes all the information that it should about the project, in line with the EIA Regulations, as well as everything requested with the Scoping Opinion. I’m also checking the cumulative assessment is up to date and includes all the relevant committed developments, and that the non-technical summary (NTS) has presented all the information it should in an easier to read format.
At the end of the day, I have a few project management tasks to deal with just to keep my projects on track.
Since joining Temple I’ve coordinated and managed numerous property EIAs, starting with Bishopsgate Goodsyard and Bow Common Gasworks, both urban redevelopment schemes in London. Over time I’ve moved from coordinating ES reviews to undertaking the overall review of the ES. This gives me the chance to see an even wider range of projects and approaches to Environmental Statements, and locations as diverse as central London and rural Devon!