Environmental Assessment

Learn how to conduct an environmental assessment and write an environmental report. Train to be a self-employed consultant or environmental assessor.

Course Code: BEN301
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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YOUR FIRST STEP TO A CAREER AS ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANT

Work in this area has expanded greatly in recent decades, and when combined with a knowledge of plant or animal identification and ecology, this course develops an extremely valuable skill. Environmental assessment is a key skill for anyone wanting to undergo environmental research and a knowledge in this area is highly regarded in the environmental industry.
 
This course will also serve well as a PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT COURSE   for anyone with expertise who doesn't know how to "sell" that expertise.

 

 

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Environmental Assessment
    • Types of Employment for Environmental Scientists, Pre Purchase Inspections, Background Data, Flora and Fauna Surveys, Open Space Management Plans, Detection of Pollutants, Use of Plants, Remediation of Polluted Sites, Employment in a Multi-Disciplinary Team.
  2. Overview of Environmental Assessment
    • What is Environmental Assessment? Definitions of Environmental Assessment, Overview of the Environmental Assessment Process.
  3. International Environmental Law
    • Foundations of Environmental Law, Making International Laws (Treaties and Customary Law), Milestones in International Environmental Law, Principles of International Environmental Law, Institutions that influence Environmental Law, Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Law.
  4. Domestic Environmental Law
    • Evolving Domestic Environmental Law, Strategies for Domestic Environmental Policy, Establishment of Environmental Standards, Liability, Environmental Impact Assessment, Prior Authorisation and Enforcement.
  5. Types of Environmental Assessments
    • Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Impact Statement, Environmental Risk Assessment, Ecological Risk Assessment, Strategic Environment Assessment, Environmental Audit, Regional Risk Screening, Ecological Impact Assessment, Social Impact Assessments and Statements, Economic and Fiscal Impact Assessment, Health Impact Assessment.
  6. The Design and Process of Environmental Assessment
    • Steps in the Environmental Assessment Process (Screening, Scoping, Collection and Analysis of Information, Public Consultation and Participation, Reporting the Findings of the Study, Post Project Analysis) Impact Prediction and Evaluation including Impact Identification Methods and Impact Assessment Techniques, Data Collection, Statistical Analysis of Data and Statistical Tests.
  7. Writing Environmental Reports
    • Environmental Statements, Report Structure, Suggested Layouts for Environmental Statements, Report Presentation, Examples of Environmental Impact Statements.
  8. Research Project
    • The research project is the student’s opportunity to test out their skills as an environmental consultant. In this project, the student will go through the steps involved in carrying out an environmental assessment and write it up as a professional report.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • To appreciate the range of employment available to scientists skilled in environmental assessment.
  • Develop an understanding of the basics of environmental study design, analysis and reporting within a legal framework.
  • Be aware of the international legislation relevant to environmental assessment.
  • Research the legislation which dictates the environmental assessment requirements in the student’s home country.
  • Appreciate the range of environmental assessment techniques that have been developed to assess a range of situations around the globe.
  • Understand the environmental assessment process in enough depth to manage a small environmental assessment.
  • Write a professional environmental report.
  • Prepare an environmental impact assessment including carrying out all research and writing up the actual report.

What You Will Do

  • Contact a laboratory (either by telephone, email, or in person) that carries out tests for environmental contaminants.
  • Research the organisation in the local area that handles environmental complaints and the procedure for lodging such complaints.
  • Identify developments that require an environmental assessment.
  • Contact an Environmental Consulting Firm that carries out Environmental Assessments to determine the most common type of environment assessment in the local area.
  • Contact the local government organisation to determine what sort of environmental assessments are required for the different classes of development.
  • Research one treaty that influences environmental issues in the locality.
  • Research the legislation in the student’s home country that governs the preparation of environmental assessments. Research the legislation in one other country that governs the preparation of environmental assessments.
  • Identify factors that influence developer’s decisions on where to locate their developments.
  • Read and review an Environmental Assessment Report.
  • Source the original data from an Environmental Assessment to determine how the data was analysed after collection.
  • Write one hypothetical environmental assessment from beginning to end.
  • Carry out a major research project in the form of an environmental assessment. This project will include research into data scoping, study design, data collection, data analysis, conclusions and a professionally presented final report.

Stages in an Environmental Assessment

Screening is the first stage in the Environmental Assessment Process and it refers to the process of deciding whether an environmental assessment needs to be carried out. A number of screening methods have been devised, including the use of positive and negative lists, screening matrices and initial environmental evaluations (IEE).

No matter what method of screening is used, it needs to be relatively quick, to avoid spending too much time on projects that may not be required to go through an Environmental Assessment. It also needs to be easy to use while being thorough enough to identify all projects requiring an EA.

A common approach to screening which has been adopted in many countries has been the creation of positive and negative screening lists. A positive screening list identifies a list of projects that that require an EA. For example, in Europe, EC Directive 85/337 includes two annexes that list projects as either having a mandatory (annex I) or discretionary (annex II) requirement for EA. A project will be designated as falling into either of these annexes depending upon the characteristics of the presented proposal, including the scale or size of the proposal, the nature of the activities, and the sensitivity of the surrounding environment. A negative screening list is the opposite of a positive screening list, designating types of projects that do not require an EA. This can become difficult however, as these lists can sometimes end up being very long.

 

Some countries, such as Canada and Thailand, have also now developed a two stage screening process, involving an initial screening, which is then followed by a secondary screening when the necessity for an EA has not been able to be determined during the initial screening.

Many environmental scientists will not actually participate in the screening process, as scientists will often be approached after a developer has decided that they need an environmental assessment in order for development to proceed. Sometimes only a preliminary assessment of impacts is needed whereas a full Environmental Impact Statement may be mandatory for some types of development.

Scoping

Scoping is the process by which the key issues and concerns of interested parties (stakeholders) are identified, in order to determine the most important issues that should be addressed in the EA. Scoping may include determining exactly what type of assessment is required according to the law.

As EA’s are often conducted with restraints on the amount of time and budget available, scoping is an important mechanism to determine the priorities and focus for the EA, reducing the inclusion of irrelevant information.

Collection and Analysis of Information

This is the largest and most time consuming step. A number of factors are required to be considered within this step, including carrying out baseline studies, identifying potential impacts of a development, proposing project alternatives and considering the views and concerns of the public.

Public Consultation and Participation

Public involvement is an essential part of the environmental assessment process. It should be part of the process of gathering information for analysis. This is particularly important where proposed developments are likely to affect members of the public (remember that there may be considerable backlash from the community if they have not been consulted about an issue that is important to them). The public are also able to provide assessors with more detailed information on their local area and may be better able to identify potential environmental impacts. Public involvement might take the form of public meetings; calls for submissions or surveys. Such public involvement may be required by law in some countries. Public participation may be time consuming and more costly in the short term, but it can increase the acceptability of the project and reduce conflict and delay. Information collected should be used in the Environmental Assessment Report.

Reporting the Findings of the Study

The findings of the study are assembled into a document that is often referred to as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

 

Secure this keystone skill

 

This Environmental Assessment course is a solid course that will give you the foundation knowledge, fundamental to working in the Environment industry. 

Not only do we allow you the flexibility to study online, at your own pace, with no deadlines for assignments; but our learning structure gives you opportunities for developing your research and networking skills - another couple of skills that are imperative to working successfully in this industry.  

  
ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email acs@oamps.com.au.


Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
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You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.


How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

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We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Dr Robert Browne

Zoologist, Environmental Scientist and Sustainability, science based consultancy with biotechnology corporations. Work focused on conservation and sustainability.
Robert has published work in the fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and develop

John Mason (Horticulturist)

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant.
Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK.
He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.

Diana Cole

B.A. (Hons), Dip. Horticulture, BTEC Dip. Garden Design, Diploma Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector), P.D.C.
In addition to the qualifications listed above, Diana holds City & Guild





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Timothy Walker

Timothy is a Botanist, Horticulturist and Gardener. He is an Author, and also a lecturer at Somerville College, Oxford. After training at a number of gardens including Windsor Great Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Timothy commenced work at Oxford Botanic Gardens in 1986. Appointed as "Horti Praefectus" (Superintendent/Director) there in 1988, he held that position until 2014. Under Timothy's watch, the garden won four gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show, and developed 67 acres of MG5 wild flower meadow at the Harcourt Arboretum; a UK threatened habitat. Timothy remains an active practical gardener as well as a highly respected international academic in the fields of horticulture and plant botany.

Gareth Pearce

Gareth has over 25 years of experience in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology and conservation in a variety of colleges and universities in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. He qualified as a veterinary surgeon at the Universities of Melbourne and Bristol, having previously graduated in Agricultural Science and gained a PhD in Livestock Behaviour and Production. He also has post-graduate qualifications in Education, Wildlife Conservation Medicine, Aquatic Veterinary Studies and Wildlife Biology & Conservation.

Sarah Pirecki

A passionate advocate for animal health and welfare. Sarah completed a Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience majoring in Animal Health and Disease and is currently completing a Diploma of Project Management. She has a wide range of experience working in agricultural settings, veterinary nursing, assistance dog raising, and animal education.

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