An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) system is supposed to predict the effects of actions that might have significant impacts at all levels of decision-making, including policies, plans, programmes and projects. This has led to different assessment systems being developed at each decision-making tier: ‘Impact Assessment’ is used in the European Union; Regulatory Impact Assessment applies to national-level assessment within OECD countries (Radaelli, 2004); Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is typically applied to sub-national plans and programmes in over 60 countries worldwide (International Atomic Energy Agency, 2018); and EIA applies to projects in all countries of the world. Arts et al. (2011, p.417) define tiering as “the deliberate, organized transfer of information and issues from one level of planning to another, which is being supported by EAs”, this is the basis of an efficient EIA system. Yet tiering rarely happens in practice (Pope et al., 2013) given different competencies, responsibilities and power of stakeholders at different tiers.
This PhD studentship aims to take a theory of change approach (Vogel, 2012) to analyse how tiering can be made to work. Specific objectives are:
1) To identify a suitable sector and nation case study.
2) To analyse the context in terms of actors, stakeholders, networks and power relation.
3) To identify changes (and assumptions) that lead to improvements in tiering practice.
The research will help to develop a number of skills including:
• Research design
• Stakeholder engagement
• Documentary analysis
• Interview techniques
The student will be embedded in the 3S (Science, Society and Sustainability) research group within the School of Environmental Sciences.
NB Applications are processed as soon as they are received and the project may be filled before the closing date, so early application is encouraged.