For many years RPS was a founder corporate member of Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). During 2011, IEMA launched the EIA Quality Mark establishing a new standard for organisations that co-ordinate Environmental Impact Assessments. Following our submission to IEMA, key RPS offices were awarded the IEMA Quality Mark in April 2011.
What is involved?
The EIA Quality Mark is based around a set of EIA Commitments (detailed in Box 1 below), which organisations registered to the scheme agree to comply with.
Box 1: EIA Quality Mark Commitments:
1. EIA Management – We commit to using effective project control and management processes to deliver quality in the EIA we co-ordinate and the Environmental Statements we produce.
2. EIA Team Capabilities – We commit to ensuring that all our EIA staff have the opportunity to undertake regular and relevant continuing professional development.
3. EIA Regulatory Compliance – We commit to delivering Environmental Statements that meet the requirements established within the appropriate UK EIA Regulations.
4. EIA Context & Influence – We commit to ensuring that all EIAs we coordinate are effectively scoped and that we will transparently indicate how the EIA process, and any consultation undertaken, influenced the development proposed and any alternatives considered.
5. EIA Content – We commit to undertaking assessments that include: a robust analysis of the relevant baseline; assessment and transparent evaluation of impact significance; and an effective description of measures designed to monitor and manage significant effects.
6. EIA Presentation – We commit to deliver Environmental Statements that set out environmental information in a transparent and understandable manner.
7. Improving EIA practice – We commit to enhance the profile of good quality EIA by working with IEMA to deliver a mutually agreed set of activities, on an annual basis, and by making appropriate examples of our work available to the wider EIA community.
In order to meet the Quality Mark commitments, RPS need to provide information to IEMA throughout the year. This information includes copies of Environmental Statements, articles, presentations and case studies on EIA practice and recent projects.
What does it mean?
In order to maintain the Quality Mark accreditation, our Environmental Statements are audited by a panel appointed by IEMA to ensure that they meet legal and best practice criteria. Our staff are interviewed in order to ensure that they are providing a high quality and knowledgeable service.
RPS has passed all of its annual reviews to date and believe that the EIA Quality Mark provides us with a benchmark for our EIA activities and allows us to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to effective practice.