This edited collection analyzes the appropriate balance between conservation and development and the place for participation and popular protest in environmental assessment. Examining the relationship between law, environmental governance and the regulation of decision-making, this volume takes a reflective and contextual approach, using wide range of theories, to explore the key features of modern environmental assessment.

This collection of work from experts in the area in the US and Europe provides a detailed treatment of key issues in environmental assessment, encouraging an appreciation of where environmental assessment has come from and how it could develop in the future. A 'stocktaking' exercise, this volume encompasses a broad range of concerns, timescales and legal and policy contexts.

Individual chapters include discussions on:

  • the development of EIA in the United States and Europe
  • the interrelation of environmental assessment with other regulatory regimes (water protection, environmental justice initiatives, the European spatial strategy)
  • the prospects for the digitalization of the environmental assessment process
  • the development and use of environmental impact assessment by the European Commission, the UN/ECE and NGOs.

Looking at the roots and current state of environmental assessment in the US and Europe and giving the reader a good sense of the political, scientific and technological settings in which environmental assessment has developed, this book critically examines the dilemmas the law has found itself in since the regulation of environmental assessment.


1. Taking Stock  2. Environmental Assessment: Dominant or Dormant?  3. NEPA and the Curious Evolution of Environmental Impact Assessment in the United States  4. Better Regulation in Europe  5. The Development of Environmental Assessment at the Level of the European Union  6. Substance and Procedure under the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive and the Water Framework Directive  7. Access to Justice and the EIA Directive: The Implications of the Aarhus Convention  8. Bringing Environmental Assessment into the Digital Age  9. The Prospects for Ecological Impact Assessment