Social Impact Assessment in Europe: A Study of Social Impacts in Three Danish Cases

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Abstract

Social impact assessment (SIA) is applied worldwide to assess social impacts of plans and projects. In Europe, directives on environmental assessment (EA) require attention to social impacts, however, there is a need to investigate the implementation in practise. To this end, we study three Danish cases, which are characterised by debates and conflicts on social issues. Analysis of the EA statements shows inclusion of a broad range of social impacts. However, the EAs do not fully match the concerns of the public, and social impacts are not always analysed in depth, mitigation measures are not suggested or are postponed and the geographical distribution of impacts assessed is biased towards including negative local impacts. We discuss the scope and handling of social impacts, and possible implications. Based on this, we conclude with the view that EA might do the job of handling social impacts in Europe, if practise is improved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1550038
JournalJournal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management
Volume17
Issue number4
Number of pages24
ISSN1464-3332
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2015

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social impact assessment
social impact
social effects
environmental assessment
geographical distribution
social issue
Europe
inclusion

Keywords

  • conflict
  • Denmark
  • environmental assessment
  • public participation
  • Social impacts

Cite this

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abstract = "Social impact assessment (SIA) is applied worldwide to assess social impacts of plans and projects. In Europe, directives on environmental assessment (EA) require attention to social impacts, however, there is a need to investigate the implementation in practise. To this end, we study three Danish cases, which are characterised by debates and conflicts on social issues. Analysis of the EA statements shows inclusion of a broad range of social impacts. However, the EAs do not fully match the concerns of the public, and social impacts are not always analysed in depth, mitigation measures are not suggested or are postponed and the geographical distribution of impacts assessed is biased towards including negative local impacts. We discuss the scope and handling of social impacts, and possible implications. Based on this, we conclude with the view that EA might do the job of handling social impacts in Europe, if practise is improved.",
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AU - Ritter, Eva

AU - Nielsen, Helle

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