Enhancing the value and validity of EIA: serious science to protect Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

Sheaves, Marcus, Coles, Rob, Dale, Pat, Grech, Alana, Pressey, Robert L., and Waltham, Nathan J. (2016) Enhancing the value and validity of EIA: serious science to protect Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Conservation Letters, 9 (5). pp. 377-383.

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Abstract

The unique values of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are under threat from environmental change and the unforeseen, cumulative consequences of coastal development. Development decisions are underpinned by Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) but these are plagued by inconsistent methods and a lack of independent evaluation, leading to perceptions of inadequate scientific rigor. To be credible and effective, EIAs should be subject to independent peer review, the yardstick applied in the normal process of science. Without it, decisions based on EIA are at best contestable and potentially invalid. Peer review should be applied to the whole EIA process from project development to reporting and auditing approval requirements. It should be based on rigorous, standard protocols, and produce standardized and publicly available data. Securing the future of the GBR and other global natural assets requires refocusing EIA so it becomes a tool for strategic environmental protection rather than ad hoc permitting of development.

Item ID: 47779
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Great Barrier Reef; environmental impact assessment; peer review
Additional Information:

© 2015 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

ISSN: 1755-263X
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2017 22:41
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 20%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment @ 80%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960799 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards not elsewhere classified @ 30%
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