The environmental impact assessment (EIA) is a method used to ensure that environmental conservation measures are prepared by predicting and evaluating in advance the harmful impacts of a development project during the planning stage. It was first implemented in 1981, and the strategic environmental assessment (SEA) was introduced in 2006 so that factors such as environmental appropriateness and site suitability can be reviewed during administrative planning, a higher-order process than the development project itself.
First, the SEA system aims to facilitate sustainable development of the national land by checking compatibility with environmental conservation plans when formulating higher-order plans that impact the environment and creating and analyzing alternatives, and thereby considering the appropriateness of the plan concerned and site feasibility from an environmental perspective. It was introduced to address the fact that EIA is performed when a development plan is being finalized and therefore cannot account for the cumulative environmental impact of several projects. It targets 15 policy plans, which are assessed in terms of their compatibility with environmental conservation plans, relevance to and consistency with higher-order plans and associated plans, and sustainability of environmental capacity, and 86 development master plans, which are assessed in terms of the appropriateness of the plan (relevance to higher-order and associated plans, alternatives, etc.) and site feasibility (natural environment conservation, safety of living environments, and balance with the socioeconomic environment).
Second, the EIA aims to formulate environmental conservation measures and alternatives by investigating, predicting, and assessing environmental impacts in advance when issuing a permit, certificate, approval or license, or making a decision on the execution plan or implementation plan of a development project that may affect the environment. It assesses 78 specific projects in 17 fields, including urban development and industrial complex construction, based on 21 items belonging to six environmental factors, including natural ecology, atmosphere, and water quality.
In addition, a project that is not legally subject to this assessment may undergo an environmental assessment performed by the head of the local government (metropolitan cities, provinces (“do”), and cities with a population of at least 500,000) based on a local ordinance if the project raises concern over environmental impacts when regional characteristics are accounted for. Any project with a scale of at least 50% and less than 100% of the EIA target and any project that is not a target project but has been consulted in advance with the Minister of Environment may be subject to an environmental assessment in accordance with the ordinance. As of 2014, the ordinance has been established and is effective in the eight local governments of Seoul, Busan, Incheon, Gwangju, Daejeon, Gyeongsangnam-do, Gangwon-do, and Jeju.
Third, the minor EIA applies when a development project is implemented in a region that requires environmental conservation or in a region that requires planned development due to concerns over reckless development. It assesses development projects (a project area of at least 5,000 m2, etc.) in 19 fields and eight regions, including conservation and control areas prescribed by the National Land Planning and Utilization Act, in terms of the eight topics of natural ecological environment, atmosphere, water quality, odors, noise and vibration, landscape, radio interference, and marine environment.
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Last modified : 2016-11-03 22:58
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