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Module OSX-4004:
Environmental ImpactAssessment

Module Facts

Run by School of Ocean Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof John Turner

Overall aims and purpose

Module Aims:

(1) To understand the physical processes (currents, erosion) and chemical processes (hypernutrification, eutrophication) causing impacts in the coastal zone

(2) To understand the process of assessing the environmental impact of a development activity

(3) To prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to EU Directive requirements

(4) To present the EIS to a public meeting and for peer review

Course content

An introduction to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) covering the

i Definition of impacts

ii Physical processes causing impacts (erosion, sedimentation)

iii Chemical processes causing impacts (hypernutrification)

iv Preparation of environmental documents

v Environmental attributes, scoping and baseline procedures

vi EIA methodology

vii Procedure for developing an EIS

viii Procedures for reviewing an EIS

The EIA provides an opportunity to conduct a desk study of the expected environmental consequences of a plausible but generally hypothetical development project. The document will be presented to a public meeting of academic staff and course students.
Each student will also be assessed by a viva on the EIS.

Assessment Criteria


Report with generally good layout and presentation. Survey design well suited to the habitat and well implemented with attention to detail and effective work in the field. Methodology described well in a concise scientific fashion with important relevant details. Results described clearly with good tabulated and graphical presentation of data and appropriate statistics. Pertinent discussion giving insight into the habitat surveyed with some appropriate references. Good appreciation of the pros and cons of techniques utilised.


Outstanding report of a well designed thoroughly implemented survey. Report having a concise introduction covering all relevant aspects of the study and giving full references. Materials and methods fully and succinctly described, data well presented in tabular and/or graphical format, data fully analysed using the correct analytical methods for all data sets. Discussion focused, critical and concise, covering all aspects of the study, and fully referenced. Design and layout of report exceptional.


Basic report with acceptable layout and presentation but missing detail. Survey design acceptable but not the most appropriate and implemented to produce the bare minimum of acceptable results. Discussion of results minimal with limited insight into the ecology of the habitat surveyed.

Learning outcomes

  1. Know procedures for reviewing an EIS

  2. Understand environmental attributes, scoping and baseline procedures

  3. Understand EIA methodology

  4. Know the procedure for developing an EIS

  5. On completion of the module, students should be able to:

    Prepare environmental documents eg EIS and supporting documents

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
EIA Report 100

Teaching and Learning Strategy


20 hrs presentations at a 2 day `public meeting with role play as presenting consultants and representative audience


7.5 hrs Viva with Prof J. Turner

Private study 156

23 hrs lectures (3 hrs Dr Jon King; 3 hrs Dr Peter Robins, 3 hrs Dr David Assinder; 4 hrs Dr S. Jackson; 10 hrs Prof J. Turner)


4 hrs private consultations with Prof J. Turner


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: