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- Assess the potential impacts on the environment of new developments
- Ideal work for someone who wants to protect the planet
- You'll need technical analysis skills and environmental knowledge
This role is a great choice if you're interested in protecting the environment and making sure that any new developments take into consideration the sustainability of our natural environment.
As an environmental impact assessor, you'll undertake projects to work out what the impact on the environment will be of a project like a major housing development, a transport infrastructure development, or the development of a particular site for industry. For major planning applications in the UK an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an essential part of the submission, so this work is needed by any developer or organisation planning a major project.
- Researching a particular development project
- Surveying a site and gathering information
- Working with specialist contractors who survey for particular habitats and issues
- Using modelling techniques to predict impacts, risks, and potential scenarios
- Producing analysis and reports with recommendations for reducing negative impacts.
Most environmental impact assessors are freelancers, but there are an increasing number of roles based within specific organisations. The kinds of organisations you might work for include, local and national governments, environmental and conservation organisations, oil, gas, and mining companies, and housing or industrial land developers.
This role would be ideal for someone who cares for the environment and is able to apply scientific and analytical techniques to produce balanced reports and recommendations.
Most environmental impact assessors will have a degree in a related subject like environmental science, biosciences, or in town planning. You'll then need to develop specialist knowledge in this field - you could do this by completing a specialist master's degree in environmental impact assessment, or by undertaking a specialist training course with a commercial provider.
It may help you to gain work if you become a member of one of the professional bodies for the sector like: the Institute of Environmental Science (IES), Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA), Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).
You'll need to follow specific guidelines for producing EIAs for planning applications, and you'll need knowledge of the planning system and the relevant legislation you'll need to follow.
There are excellent future prospects for someone who builds experience in this field as organisations are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of their impact on the environment. This means senior roles like 'Head of Environmental Impact' or 'Sustainability Director' are becoming more common and would be natural progression routes for someone with skill and experience in this field. You could also develop your own business offering consultancy services to organisations, or move into related fields like environmental journalism.