What you need to know about the 2018 EIANZ Guidelines

In May of this year, the Environmental Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ) issued the second edition of their guidelines for ecological impact assessment.

These are the only impact assessment guidelines produced in New Zealand for New Zealanders, dealing both with the processes of the Resource Management Act, and the unique ecology of our landscapes.

The initial EIANZ 2015 guidelines were based on international best practice, such as the International Association of Impact Assessment (IAIA) and Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IEEM) but modified for New Zealand conditions. The 2015 guidelines used Boffa Miskell’s ecological impact assessment for the Transmission Gully project (which was based at that time on the IEEM guidelines) as a primary case study for the development of the assessment framework.

“Placing ecological interpretation within a standard framework should lead to more consistent and transparent assessments of effects. The approach may be especially suitable for large, complex projects. An example of this is the Transmission Gully Ecological Assessment (Boffa Miskell Ltd, 2011), which used this approach to bring together extensive data on a wide range of ecological features. We draw heavily on this example in this chapter and chapter 6.’

Naturally, Boffa Miskell was an early adopter of Version 1 of these guidelines and since 2015 our ecologists have applied and tested the methods and processes for impact assessment throughout New Zealand on a wide range of projects from small subdivisions to major infrastructure projects.

Over that time, we have identified areas where the guidelines could be expanded, improved, and brought up to date with current practice. We were delighted when Wellington-based ecologist Stephen Fuller, and Christchurch-based ecologist Scott Hooson were invited to co-author the 2018 update.

The changes to the guidelines, now titled EIANZ guidelines for use in New Zealand: Terrestrial and Freshwater Ecosystems (2nd edition), have ensured that the document:

  • Is up to date with current effects assessment and mitigation practice;
  • Stresses description and analysis as a basis for impact assessment and management;
  • Refocuses assessment on section 88/schedule 4 matters (information required in application for resource consent);
  • Has revised its approach to assessing Section 6(c) significance versus the assessment of ecological value;
  • Has updated and refined the matrices for assessing magnitude and scale of effect;
  • Has updated and expanded the recommended approach to biodiversity offsetting; and
  • Which continues to emphasise the ethics of impact assessment as per the EIANZ code of ethics and professional conduct.

As the title of the guidelines state, they do not, as yet, include a specific section on marine assessment; but it’s hoped this can be developed and added in the near future.

Boffa Miskell continues to strongly support these guidelines and the rigour and care that they require of an ecological impact assessment. If you have any questions about the 2018 guidelines, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

 

For further information please contact Stephen Fuller or Scott Hooson

30 October 2018