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Legislative environmental assessment : an evaluation of procedure and context with reference to Canada and the Netherlands


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Marsden, Simon Halstead,1964- 1999 , 'Legislative environmental assessment : an evaluation of procedure and context with reference to Canada and the Netherlands', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis considers the application of Strategic Environmental
Assessment (SEA) to legislative proposals, referred to here as Legislative
Environmental Assessment (legislative EA). The objective of legislative EA
is to contribute towards sustainable development. The purpose of the
thesis is to identify developing processes of legislative EA which have the
greatest likelihood of achieving this objective. The thesis examines
whether such processes can and should be applied in Australia.
The first part considers the theory of SEA and systems of legislative EA.
This examines the purpose, evolution, scope and difficulties of each
process. Although SEA has been applied mostly to policies, plans and
programs (PPPs) in the area of land use planning, more recently it has
also been applied to legislative proposals. Experience with legislative EA
in North America and Europe is analysed, to emphasise that it is of
growing and significant international interest.
The second part focuses upon principles and criteria used to measure the
procedural effectiveness of EA and SEA. This part develops a means of
evaluating legislative EA based upon the use of additional criteria. It is
argued that if legislative EA is to achieve its objective, these criteria need
to include six key procedural aspects and take account of the context in
which the procedures operate. The third part examines legislative EA in detail in the jurisdictions which
have used it most, Canada and the Netherlands. The procedures and
underlying contexts of the Canadian Cabinet Directive on the
Environmental Assessment of Policy and Program Proposals 1990 (the
Directive), and the Dutch Environmental Test 1995 (E-test) are evaluated
against the criteria developed in the second part. The evaluation illustrates
the strengths and weaknesses of the use of legislative EA in each country,
and the use that can be made of the evaluation criteria.
Conclusions are drawn which may usefully be applied to a number of
jurisdictions, and which have specific application to Australia. The most
important of these is that legislative EA contributes to the achievement of
sustainable development. It is therefore necessary that: legislative EA is
coordinated with other environmental policies; that environmental,
economic and social impacts are integrated in the assessment; that
assessments take place at the earliest possible time; and that adequate
guidance is provided.
Other conclusions are that: EA procedures can and should be used for
legislative EA; that the context in which legislative proposals are prepared
and approved has a significant influence on the process; that legislative
EA should be introduced by a policy rather than legal basis; that it is quite
possible to evaluate legislative EA through the use of criteria; that
legislative EA is more effective in the Netherlands than in Canada; and
that Australia is in a good position to introduce legislative EA requirements
of its own, and that it should do so without delay.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Marsden, Simon Halstead,1964-
Keywords: Environmental impact analysis
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1999 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1999. Includes bibliographical references

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