2021 sees the tenth anniversary of IEMA’s EIA Quality Mark, and of Dulas gaining that accreditation.

IEMA, the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, created the Quality Mark to promote high standards for those working in the environment and sustainability sector, particularly those engaged in environmental management and in the production of EIAs – Environmental Impact Assessments. For the client, having an EIA conducted by an IEMA accredited provider gives confidence that the EIA will be industry compliant to a highly professional standard. Although EIAs are commissioned and paid for by the developers of projects, the information they contain lives in the public domain and is for the benefit of all those affected by the project, so it is essential that they provide objective, independent and transparent information.

Dulas immediately recognised the Mark’s value to our work, and that our own values and ethos were highly aligned to the ‘Seven Commitments’ that each company complying with the scheme must adhere to. Consequently, the Dulas Consultancy team, which conducts EIAs for large wind and solar projects, were one of the first to apply for, and to attain, the IEMA EIA quality mark back in 2011.

The seven EIA Commitments

The EIA Quality Mark registrants must adhere to seven key commitments as part of its ongoing accreditation. These commitments underpin and maintain the high standards of our EIA services scheme.

Having been founded in 1982, Dulas actually precedes the earliest legal requirement for EIAs in the UK. Although it would be unthinkable today to proceed on a major development without an EIA, there was no requirement for them until 1988, when they were introduced through inclusion within the Town and Country Planning Regulations in England and Wales and by the Environment Impact Assessment Regulations in Scotland. These were in turn based on a Directive from the EU which, along with the OECD, was a major proponent of EIAs.

In the period since then, official support for renewables has varied considerably – it took a long time for the threat of climate change to gain the broad political acceptance it has today – but Dulas has maintained its presence throughout and built up a bank of intellectual knowledge, including the various rules and regulations prevailing in the separate devolved nations of the UK (as well as the Republic of Ireland). We have been especially adept at staying abreast of the rapidly changing technology market in renewables, and in maintaining an understanding of how new equipment  – such as larger wind turbines – will impact the environment. Where we identify adverse impacts, we offer constructive and practical recommendations as to how clients can modify their designs or adopt new measures to reduce their projects’ environmental risks.

EIAs are now integral to the planning process of almost every major development, and they continue to evolve. Now that the UK has left the EU, new legislation is being drawn up in the shape of Environmental and Planning Bills to which Dulas and other EIA providers will need to adapt. EIAs are also complex documents to produce, covering multiple environmental disciplines ranging from landscape to aviation, ecology to noise. This is why the team constantly strive to meet to the standards of regulatory guidance on EIAs, thus ensuring quality in our documentation that will undergo detailed scrutiny when in the public domain.

Like all holders of the IEMA EIA quality mark, Dulas cannot sit back and take its accredited status for granted. Each year, we provide submissions to the IEMA – including a current EIA – for them to evaluate whether we are still entitled to hold the mark. Since first achieving the mark, we have continuously retained it, to provide our clients with an independently assessed assurance of our ability to deliver high quality EIAs.

As holders of the IEMA EIA quality mark, and with unrivalled experience and expertise in the field, Dulas is ideally placed to produce your renewable project’s EIA. Start a conversation by calling +44 (0)1654 70 5000 or with an email to info@dulas.org.uk