Lessons from an International Initiative to Set and Share Good Practice on Human Health in Environmental Impact Assessment

Ben Cave, Ryngan Pyper , Birgitte Fischer-Bonde , Sarah Humboldt-Dachroeden, Piedad Martin-Olmedo

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is applied to infrastructure and other large pro-jects. The European Union EIA Directive (2011/92/EU as amended by 2014/52/EU) requires EIAs to consider the effects that a project might have on human health. The International Association for Impact Assessment and the European Public Health Association prepared a reference paper on public health in EIA to enable the health sector to contribute to this international requirement. We present lessons from this joint action. We review literature on policy analysis, impact assessment and Health Impact Assessment (HIA). We use findings from this review and from the consultation on the reference paper to consider how population and human health should be defined; how the health sector can participate in the EIA process; the relationship between EIA and HIA; what counts as evidence; when an effect should be considered ‘likely’ and ‘significant’; how changes in health should be reported; the risks from a business-as-usual coverage of human health in EIA; and finally competencies for conducting an assessment of human health. This article is relevant for health au-thorities seeking to ensure that infrastructure, and other aspects of development, are not deleterious to, but indeed improve, human health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1392
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2021


  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Equity
  • Health Impact Assess-ment
  • Health in All Policies
  • Health inequality
  • Human health
  • Infrastructure
  • Public health
  • Significance

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