Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is already a standardised and institutionalised framework, which has been in place for decades and has been integrated in legislation and regulation for many years. However, EIA has also been thoroughly criticized for being a marginal and disconnected procedure with no real influence on decision-making processes. As a regulatory requirement for the project proponent, the procedure is usually seen as a bureaucratic hurdle to be overcome as soon as possible. As a support to decision-making processes, it has had a modest effect. The application of tools in EIA is normally very limited while analytical work is primarily based on data collected and measured on site, and filling in checklists and matrices. The challenge therefore is to deploy tools in a way to allow for a meaningful analysis. This study focuses on selected countries, which are considered to be the front-runners in this regard. It analyses how these countries deal with the particular challenges related with the assessment of environmental impacts, which tools have been developed and in which institutional and procedural context the tools are being applied.
From there, the main objective of the project is to develop a tool for environmental regulatory impact assessments in Poland, tailored to the specific traditions, priorities, as well as the institutional context in which IA is being performed.